Poland's PM: No Plans to Reverse Ban on Kosher Slaughter
Poland's Prime Minister Donald Tusk said on Tuesday he had no plans to reintroduce legislation to lift a ban on the production of kosher meat.
On Friday, the lower house of the Polish parliament, the Sejm, rejected a government-sponsored bill to enable the continuation 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.
Poland has faced criticism from both the Jewish community as well as from Israel, whose Foreign Ministry said the ban on kosher slaughter methods damaged efforts to rehabilitate Jewish life in the country.
On Monday, Israel summoned the Polish ambassador to register a formal protest against the ban of ritual slaughter. A day earlier, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein sent a letter of protest to his Polish counterpart over the ban.
Tusk played down the criticism, telling a news conference, "Right now we are not planning any legislative action in this matter.”
He added that the government would await a decision by a constitutional court on whether the ban on kosher slaughter was harming the rights of religious minorities.
The European Jewish Association (EJA) on Monday called on all Jewish organizations throughout the world to put aside their differences and unite all their efforts towards reversing the Polish parliament's decision.
“We must unite all our efforts to fight this legislation which can potentially contribute to Jewish exclusion and to violate Jewish freedom of religion and worship throughout Europe, specifically in Poland, with all its symbolic significance to Jewish history,” said EJA Director General Rabbi Menachem Margolin.