Israel is scrapping its antiquated and often corrupt kosher certification system and now will offer customers and businessmen three levels of kosher certification.
The degrees of “kasrut” will range from “basic,” enough to feel sure one is not eating anything in violation of the Torah, to mehadrin,” which is “super kosher” for those who prefer to be stringent even when it may not be necessary, and “mehadrin mehadrin,” for those who for whatever reason go to the extreme.
Each certification will carry a Star of David, with rating ratings from “one-star” to three-star.”
A significant change in the system is that owners of restaurants, falafel stands and other eateries no longer will pay the kosher inspector directly. That system made it easy for non-scrupulous businessmen to do away with those nasty interruptions whereby inspectors make sure the vegetables were tithed and the cooking oil is kosher and also made it easy for equally non-scrupulous inspectors to take the money and run to the beach for vacation, or maybe to yeshiva to learn ethics.
Religious Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett, Deputy Minister Eli Ben Dahan and Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi David Lau announced the new system at a press conference Sunday morning and promised that it will result in lower costs for businessmen,
Every business and restaurant can decide which level of kashrut it wants, and every customer can decide which level he wants,” said Bennett.
All of the kosher certificates will be computerized, and everyone will have an opportunity to check online what restaurants have which level of kashrut.
The differences in kosher ratings will be uniform throughout the country, and the hope is that this will raise the level of trust of the public and encourage them to eat only at kosher facilities.
The lower cost of maintaining a kosher restaurant also will encourage proprietors to ask for kosher authorization.
Thousands of kiosk and eateries in Israel without kosher certification might indeed be kosher today, but many businessmen have balked at paying money for supervisors who often simply do not do their job properly or who enforce stringency that are not always necessary.
About the Author: Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu is a graduate in journalism and economics from The George Washington University. He has worked as a cub reporter in rural Virginia and as senior copy editor for major Canadian metropolitan dailies. Tzvi wrote for Arutz Sheva for several years before joining the Jewish Press.
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