The food served at President Peres’s Jerusalem residence during a Yom Ha'atzmaut event may have included non-kosher meat, Maariv claimed.
The Pri Haaretz catering company, which provided the food, has vehemently denied the claims.
Witnesses told Maariv that a large quantity of meat intended for a party honoring IDF soldiers had gone bad less than a day before the event was to begin. A Pri Haaretz worker was later seen with an identical quantity of meat that had been purchased at a non-kosher store, they said.
Jawadat Ibrahim, owner of the non-kosher restaurant Abu Gosh and a friend of Peres, said that a man had entered his restaurant on Thursday, Yom Ha'atzmaut, and had asked to use the kitchen to prepare food. Ibrahim recalled that the man was “flustered.”
The man had 80 kilograms of meat to cook, and said it was for an event at the President’s house, Ibrahim said.
Representatives of Pri Haaretz denied the report. They confirmed that a large quantity of meat had gone bad shortly before the event, but said the meat was replaced with meat from their central kitchen in Kibbutz Givat Chaim.
“It makes no sense that non-kosher meat would have come in, because we have a rabbi supervising kashrut who checks each package and piece of meat before it is brought in,” they said.
Peres’s staff said that Pri Haaretz had an up-to-date kosher certificate, and confirmed that a rabbi had been supervising food preparation during the event. Following the Maariv report, the supervising rabbi sent a signed letter stating that all the food served on Independence Day was kosher, they said.
They added, “If it is revealed that, G-d forbid, the Pri Haaretz catering firm violated the norms of kashrut, the President’s Residence will go after them to the full extent of the law.”