Rabbinate Threatens Action Against Restaurants With Alternative Kosher Stamp

Following a High Court ruling restoring it a monopoly over kashrut certificates, rabbinate inspectors were handing out letters titled 'Final Warning' to restaurants under private, unofficial kashrut supervision.

Shawarma restaurant with a kashrut certificate issued by the Chief Rabbinate.
Emil Salman

One day after the High Court of Justice ruled in its favor, the Chief Rabbinate on Tuesday began threatening legal action against restaurants that describe themselves as kosher without its approval.

On Monday, the court ruled that businesses couldn’t describe their food as kosher unless they had a kashrut certificate from the rabbinate, even if they avoid the actual word “kosher” by using different phraseology.

In an interview with Army Radio Tuesday morning, Moshe Dagan, the rabbinate’s director general, said businesses would be given time to adapt to the ruling. But on Tuesday afternoon, rabbinate inspectors were already handing out letters titled “Final Warning” to restaurants under private, unofficial kashrut supervision.

The letters, after summarizing the court’s ruling, ordered the recipients to cease presenting themselves as kosher in any way, “including by displaying a certificate from the organization that calls itself Hashgacha Pratit,” a well-known private kashrut supervision service. Some of the letters also mentioned other kashrut organizations. The letters then threatened legal action should the restaurants fail to comply.

Ayala Falk, Hasgacha Pratit’s CEO, said at least four restaurants it supervises received the letter.

But the organization sought to downplay the significance of the court’s ruling, saying it would continue providing kashrut supervision to its 27 clients and that it expects a 28th restaurant to join on Wednesday.