Religious Affairs Minister Matan Kahana announced Tuesday the 'kashrut revolution' which will open the kashrut market in Israel to competition.
Under the new reforms, the Chief Rabbinate will serve as a regulator for a number of independent kashrut organizations which will provide certification to restaurants and products.
The rabbinate will set the national standards for kashrut and head an oversight body which will determine the compliance with those standards of the various kashrut organizations.
A kosher corporation that wishes can choose to meet a more basic standard than that set by the rabbinate if the standard is approved by three municipal rabbis.
In a statement reporters, Kahana said that the private kashrut organizations will be able to grant a kashrut certificate to restaurants that are open on Shabbat, if they receive permission to operate from three municipal rabbis.
Kahana also said that "the same kashrut overseer of the rabbinate is also the overseer of the Badatz. Why are we obliging the business owner to bear a double expense when it is obvious and known to everyone that the overseer is the same overseer and he provides supervision services to both the local rabbinate and the Badatz."
The plan is expected to reduce the burden placed on both local food producers and businesses that provide catering services - hotels, restaurants and cafes in Israel. According to the Finance Ministry, this step will lead to a direct reduction in the volume of spending by consumers of services and kosher products in Israel, both for home consumption and eating out, by tens of millions of shekels a year.
The Chief Rabbinical Council issued a scathing response rejecting the government's plans to open the Kashrut market in Israel to competition.
"The Chief Rabbinate of Israel completely rejects this dangerous initiative of the Ministry of Religious Affairs to destroy the concept of Kashrut. The plan presented today will allow any businessman to buy and sell Kashrut on an open market according to personal or corporate interests, with the end result being the end of proper Kashrut supervision. This is part of an ongoing trend of moves against the religious identity of the State of Israel. The Chief Rabbinate, as well as all the Rabbis of Israel, will stand together and take firm action to put a stop to these moves," the Rabbinate stated.
"The bulk of the nation puts full faith in the Rabbinate's Kashrut, and so will 'vote with their feet' to patronize only businesses with proper and traditional supervision. All of these new plans are to be summarily rejected."