Today is February 21, 2018 / /

Kosher Nexus
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Sefardi Haredi Chief Rabbi Refuses To Make Reasonable Change In Kosher Supervision Procedure Meant to Root Out Alleged Corruption Heavily Tied To Sefardi Haredi Politicians
Shmarya Rosenberg •

In recent months, severe deficiencies – some allegedly amounting to criminal fraud – have been uncovered in the Jerusalem state rabbinate’s kosher supervision authority by top staff in Ashkenazi Zionist Orthodox Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem Rabbi Aryeh Stern’s office.

Stern’s staff found kosher supervisors who did not actually inspect the establishments assigned to them, lots of make-work jobs given to relatives and associates of the kosher supervision authority’s top staff, and serious kashrut deficiencies at some restaurants and businesses the rabbinate supervises.

The Knesset held a hearing on the matter over the summer, and police are now reportedly looking into the possibility of conducting a fraud investigation.

Stern and others want to make changes now to tighten up the kosher food supervision and reduce fraud.

But many of the violators are Sefardi haredim who got their patronage positions through the Sefardi haredi Shas Party, and now Jerusalem’s Sefardi haredi Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar, a former chief rabbi of Israel, has reportedly blocked implementation of a simple and otherwise non-controversial proposal designed to reduce that corruption.

According to a report in the Jerusalem Post, Stern recently proposed that the names of each kosher food supervisor should be printed on the kashrut certificate displayed at restaurants and food service businesses. That way, if a supervisor is supervising 10 restaurants (as is in fact the case in at least one instance), each of which require by law one to three hours of supervision each day, the public will quickly be able to see who the assigned supervisor is and determine if he is actually fulfilling his duties.

Amar reportedly refused to implement that change even though other Israeli cities have been using that system for a significant amount of time.

Because of the fraud and misconduct allegations, Stern has refused to sign more than 100 kashrut certificates (out of the approximately 1,500 in the city). Some of these kosher certificates were issued and are on display in the food establishments, but with Amar’s signature only.