Polish Minister Promises to Fight Kosher Slaughter Ban
The Polish Minister of Administration and Digitization, Michał Jan Boni, told a European Jewish leader on Sunday that he is prepared to take a ban on kosher slaughtering in his country to the Constitutional Court “if necessary,” reported the European Jewish Press (EJP).
Boni, who was appointed by Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk to head a special committee to find a solution that would allow kosher slaughtering (shechita) in Poland, informed Rabbi Menachem Margolin, Director of the European Jewish Association (EJA), during a meeting in Brussels of the government’s efforts to prevent the ban from taking effect.
Last week, the Sjem, the Polish parliament, rejected a government-sponsored bill to legalize the Jewish ritual.
"This law has nothing to do with anti-Semitism but is an attempt to protect animals' rights. We will take the matter to the Constitutional Court if necessary," the minister, who is also in charge of religious matters in Poland, said, according to EJP.
He mentioned that there are many legal issues surrounding the parliament's ban – among them a contradiction with the Polish "Freedom of Religion law" which is older and subsequently carries more judicial weight.
He said that he has already sent a letter to the Polish government’s legislation center asking for “clarifications.”
Rabbi Margolin informed the minister of the serious implications that the ban can have on world Jewry and outlined that the rules of kosher butchering “are very much minded to prevent animal suffering.”
Sunday’s meeting took place in the office of Poland's ambassador to the EU, Marek Prawda.
The lawmakers' rejection of the bill angered the Jewish community, farmers and companies that had exported kosher meat to Israel and halal meat to Muslim countries.
Israel summoned the Polish ambassador to register a formal protest against the ban of ritual slaughter, and Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein sent a letter of protest to his Polish counterpart over the ban.
Before he appointed the committee, Tusk said he had no plans to reintroduce legislation to lift a ban on the production of kosher meat.
Rabbi Margolin has 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.