First publication: Chief Rabbi's deal with Religious Affairs Minister

Rabbi David Lau will continue to serve as a judge after his term ends in exchange for not opposing kashrut reforms.

Hezki Baruch ,

Rabbi David Lau and Matan Kahana
Rabbi David Lau and Matan Kahana
Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90

Ashkenazi Chief Rabb David Lau has reached a deal with Religious Affairs Minister Matan Kahana under which Rabbi Lau will not voice strong opposition to the minister's proposed kashrut reforms.

The details obtained by Arutz Sheva indicate that Rabbi Lau, who will end his term in about two years, will be appointed a judge in the Supreme Rabbinical Court, in return for which he will not lead the opposition to Kahana's efforts to open the kashrut market to competition.

As part of the deal, Minister Kahana asked MK Yom Tov Kalfon (Yamina) to submit an amendment to the Judges Law, according to which the tenure of the chief rabbis as rabbinical judges will not end. In this way, Rabbi Lau will be able to continue to serve as a religious judge.

This deal explains Rabbi David Lau's silence in recent days since the publication of Kahana's kashrut program. Minister Kahana and the Chief Rabbi met on the day the reform was unveiled, and apart from one joint statement signed by the "Chief Rabbinate Council" attacking the kashrut program, no protest was heard from Rabbi Lau.

On Tuesday, Arutz Sheva reported that Kahana had introduced changes in the reforms at the request of Rabbi Lau. In a meeting between Rabbi Lau and Kahana, the chief rabbi claimed that businesses could easily move from one kashrut organization to another if the first organization decides to deny them kashrut certification. In light of this, Kahana inserted a clause limiting the number of times restaurants can change kashrut certification providers.

In addition, the previous kashrut organization would provide the new provider with the reasons they denied certification to the restaurant.

In addition, Rabbi Lau asked to leave the regional and local rabbis the option of giving kashrut certification at the same time as the private corporations - the minister partially accepted the matter and added a clause in the reform that would allow the Religious Affairs Minister to decide on areas where the local rabbinate would continue to give certification.