Knesset plenum
Knesset plenum Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90

A controversial plan pushed by the Bennett government to reform Israel’s kashrut certification system cleared its first major hurdle Wednesday, paving the way for a vote by the full Knesset.

On Wednesday morning, Religious Affairs Minister Matan Kahane (Yamina) announced that the Knesset’s Religious Services Committee has granted final approval to the plan - drawn up by Kahane - to open up the kashrut certification system to competition, ending the chief rabbinate’s monopoly over certification.

“The Religious Services Committee has completed its work on the kashrut plan,” Kahane said Wednesday. “I am happy, and want to thank the members of the committee, including its chairwoman, MK Yulia Malinovsky, for their intensive deliberations on the kashrut plan.”

“And a special thanks to the Opposition MKs, who despite their staunch opposition to the bill, dealt with this quite seriously and deserve praise for that, and as a result brought about positive changes and important modifications.”

“I pledge that I will do everything I can to ensure that this kashrut plan improves religious services and strengthens the status of the chief rabbinate.”

The bill will now be sent to the Knesset plenum for a vote.

Under the plan drawn up by Minister Kahane, the Chief Rabbinate of Israel will no longer be the sole provider of kashrut certification, and will instead 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.