Knesset Speaker Tells Poland: Rethink Shechita Ban
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein sent a letter of protest Sunday to his Polish counterpart after the lower house of the Polish parliament, the Sejm, rejected a government-sponsored bill to enable the contnuation of kosher shechita, or slaughter of animals intended for food.
Ritual slaughter has been banned in Poland since January 1 after a Constitutional Court deemed it incompatible with animal rights law. The bill would have reinstated the practice despite the court ban.
"I was sorry to hear of the step taken by the Polish Sejm, and the rejection of the government law that was intended to enable the continuation of the religious process of kosher meat slaughter in Poland,” Edelstein wrote Ewa Kopacz, Marshal of the Sejm.
“The regrettable decision” by the Polish parliament last week, he added, “makes one wonder, how is it that modern Poland, as a democratic state in the year 2013, could deny the basic rights of Jewish and Muslim minorities.”
"As Speaker of the Knesset, Israel's elected parliament,” he wrote, “I hereby express my protest regarding the decision by the Polish parliament.”
"I do not know what steps can be taken to solve the current legislative crisis, but I hope that you agree with my position, that a situation in which Jews, once again, have to put up with limitations of their religious freedom – limitations that cause a painful feeling of prejudice and discrimination.”
"I see it as a moral obligation on the Polish people and the parliament in Poland to change this unacceptable decision,” he summed up, “a decision that makes Poland the first EU country to forbid kosher slaughter on its soil.”
"I hope that this this troubling and threatening law is removed from the Polish lawbook at the first opportunity.”