National Infrastructures Minister Uzi Landau decided on Sunday to pull the Kosher Electricity bill that he had brought before the Knesset.
Landau’s decision came in the wake of a groundswell of opposition that developed against the bill, which would have mandated the Israel Electric Company to operate its power stations according to Jewish Law.
If passed, the bill would have placed control of Israel’s electricity grid under the jurisdiction of the chief rabbinate, with kashrut supervisors and other new systems installed in power plants.
However, an internet petition signed by more than 15,650 people within two days, as well as a planned protest outside the Knesset next Wednesday caused Landau to pull the bill.
Those opposed to the bill were concerned that if it passes their electricity bills would rise since, as they wrote, “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.”
Channel 10 News quoted Landau’s office as having said that the minister had instructed his CEO to pull the law “following a concern that the wording in the proposed law will bring about a change in the status quo.”
Landau made it clear, however, that he would continue to insist that a solution is found for the thousands of families for whom electricity is supplied by generators and pirate connections.
“Above all we must remember that the purpose of the bill is to prevent risk to human life, resulting from pirated electricity,” Landau was quoted as having said. “Safeguarding human life is to me a primary concern of indispensable value.”
“I intend to continue and insist that electricity be provided to all residents of Israel, regardless of religion, race and gender, and without hurting the status quo,” Landau added.