Backlash Against 'Kosher Electricity' Bill

A groundswell of opposition is developing against the "Kosher Electricity" bill now before the Knesset.

Chana Ya'ar,

Electricity wires
Electricity wires
Israel news photo: morguefile

A groundswell of opposition is developing against the "Kosher Electricity" bill now before the Knesset. The measure would mandate the country's Israel Electric Company to operate its power stations according to Jewish Law.

If passed, the bill would place control of Israel's electricity grid under the jurisidiction of the chief rabbinate, with kashrut supervisors and other new systems installed in power plants. It is also possible that consumer bills could also rise as a result, in order to pay for the salaries of the "kashrut supervision."

More than 15,650 people have signed an Internet petition opposing the bill within the past two days.

At least a thousand Internet surfers committed themselves on a Facebook social networking page to attend a demonstration to protest the measure outside the Knesset on Wednesday, the last day of the eight-day Chanukah holiday, the "Festival of Light."

The Facebook page notes, "Under the terms of the bill, the IEC and private electricity producers will not be allowed to sell electricity without the approval of the rabbinate. As the bill stands, authority for operating or turning off Israel's electricity will be in the hands of the rabbinate. As part of the process, the rabbinate will require a rise in the budget, so as it stands, more taxpayers' money will go to the rabbinate to make electricity kosher."

In addition, the non-government organization (NGO) Yisrael Hofshit (Free Israel), dedicated to opposing coercion to observe Jewish law, held a demonstration Friday outside the Ra'anana home of National Infrastructures Minister Dr. Uzi Landau, advocate of the bill.