The Knesset’s Constitution, Law and Justice Committee threatened Tuesday to remove jurisdiction over kashrut certification for produce in the shemitta year from the Chief Rabbinate.
Committee chairman Menachem Ben Sasson (Kadima) warned, “If the Chief Rabbinate does not get its act together in the near future, the … committee will advance the establishment of an alternative kashrut authority in Israel which will find appropriate solutions for the general public.”
The threat comes as part of the battle between the political establishment and the hareidi religious rabbinical sector, which has refused to accept the “heter mechira” that allows Jewish farmers to market their produce despite the Torah injunction against working the land in the seventh year. Ben Sasson demanded that the Chief Rabbinate certify as kosher “businesses and institutions in all the cities in which local rabbis refused to do so.”
A growing number of local rabbinic authorities this year joined the hareidi religious rabbis in banning the practice and boycotting farmers who use it.