IDF to Outsource Kashrut Supervision on Dozens of Bases

Military Rabbinate will remain in charge of granting kosher certificates to army kitchens.

IDF Chief Rabbi Rafi Peretz.
Emil Salman

The Israel Defense Forces, which is undergoing major cuts to its career personnel, will also be outsourcing kashrut supervision on dozens of its bases.

However, the Military Rabbinate will still be in overall charge of kashrut supervision and will continue to be the only body authorized to grant a kashrut certificate to an army kitchen.

The IDF has compiled a list of some 30 bases where kashrut services are to be privatized, meaning that conscript and career army personnel will no longer be assigned the task.

The Defense Ministry recently approached civilian bodies specializing in kashrut supervision with requests for information to check costs.

Weighing the possibility of expanding the move, the ministry has asked these bodies to provide costing for the supervision of a total of 60 bases.

The private kashrut supervision contractors will be responsible for various tasks involved in ensuring that food in army kitchens is kosher. This includes jobs such as ensuring vegetable leaves are free of insects, sifting flour, the ritual of removing a piece of challah before baking, as well as instructing kitchen staff and cleaning kitchens and utensils ahead of Passover.

The civilian supervisors will have to be present in the kitchen before the Sabbath and Jewish holidays, as well as during special events in the units at which food is served.

Because some of the kitchens serve operational units, the civilian supervisors will be forced to have a high security clearance.

The change is one of many that the IDF rabbinate has undergone in recent weeks. Following a decision by Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, responsibility for the Jewish awareness branch of the service is to be taken away from the rabbinate and given to Brig. Gen. Hagai Topolansky, head of the Manpower Directorate.