The battle between the Israeli Rabbinate and Tzohar continues to heat up after Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, the Chief Rabbi of Tzfat (Safed), returned fire, declaring that Tzohar didn’t investigate the facts before Tzohar’s Rabbi Yuval Cherlow accused Rabbi Eliyahu of libeling the “Hashgacha Pratit” (“Private Certification”) Kashrut supervisory organization.
Rabbi Cherlow said about Rabbi Eliyahu on Twitter: “The Torah commanded us about what goes into our mouth, but even more so about what comes out of our mouth. The Halakhah forbids slanderous libel.”
Hashgacha Pratit issued a statement, “Rabbi Eliyahu’s words are defamatory and libelous, a clear expression of the hysteria that has gripped the Chief Rabbinate [at the prospect of losing the kashrut business].”
In response, Rabbi Eliyahu released a statement detailing the basis for the statement he made against Hashgacha Pratit.
In his statement Eliyahu wrote that Hashgacha Pratit provided Kashrut certification to a restaurant in Jerusalem’s Mercaz Clal building called “Ochlim BaShuk.”
The Rabbanute’s Kashrut fraud department suspected that Ochlim BaShuk bought their food from “Timim Catering,” which is located in an Arab village and not under any Kashrut supervision.
The Rabbanute asked Hashgacha Pratit to investigate further.
According to Hashgacha Pratit the restaurant owner told them Ochlim BaShuk was providing food to Timim, and Timim was not providing food to Ochlim BaShuk.
They also discovered that Timim had forged the Hashgacha Pratit Kashrut certificate, and posted on their website that Timim was not under the Hashgacha Pratit supervision.
According to Rabbi Eliyahu, the owner of Timim Catering is a partner in the Ochlim BaShuk restaurant.
Rabbi Eliyahu says Timim continued to claim they were Kosher, even after the discovery. On the Timin website, they even state they are Kosher L’Mehadrin.
Rabbi Eliyahu explicitely states that the owner of Ochlim BaShuk/Timim is a con-man, a forger and has no conscience – and he is feeding people non-kosher food under a forged Kashrut certification.
Hashgacha Pratit admits that Timim forged their Kashrut certification, but claims they are sure that Ochlim BaShuk never used Timim’s products.
Rabbi Eliyahu pointed out that Hashgacha Pratit says the basis for their Kashrut certification is trust between the restaurant owners, the community and the Kashrut organization, but what trust can there be when the owner of the restaurant was caught forging their Kashrut certificate and claiming his catering business was kosher?