JERUSALEM (JTA) – A bill to prohibit an alternative kosher certification agency from operating passed an initial vote in Israel’s Knesset.
The bill, introduced by lawmakers from the haredi Orthodox Shas and United Torah Judaism parties, would prohibit the alternative organization, called “Private Certification,” from granting kosher certificates to restaurants, according to Haaretz. The bill passed Wednesday by a vote of 49 to 34.
While current law gives Israel’s Chief Rabbinate exclusive authority to certify restaurants kosher, Private Certification took advantage of a loophole in the law by granting certificates to restaurants without placing the word “kosher” on the certificates. This bill would close that loophole.
The bill will now go back to committee before being presented for a final vote. The bill is expected to be amended to allow restaurants to declare that they are kosher under “self-supervision,” without rabbinic authority. The bill will likely also exclude imported goods with kosher certification from a foreign agency.