Tel Aviv…Hotels in Israel spend nearly $4 million every year to prepare their hotels for Passover, according to the Israel Hotel Association. As a result, says Globes, the prestigious Israeli business magazine, a number of hotels have turned to alternative certifications that are not associated with the Chief Rabbinate or a small number who have decided to forego the certification altogether. But tourism officials call the move shortsighted as Passover can be one of the most lucrative periods for a hotel. A record number of Israelis go to hotels for Passover. The hotels say that ridding the entire hotels of chametz is extremely labor intensive and in some cases the hotel and particularly the kitchens, are closed for long periods of time before Passover.
Other hotels, especially those that do not belong to the large chains, are using the alternative kosher certification offered by the Tzohar organization instead of the certification offered by the Chief Rabbinate, says Globes. Israeli sources told Kosher Today that the kashrus issue has been simmering for some time between the hotels and the Chief Rabbinate. The issues are the exorbitant costs associated with the certification and in some cases the rabbinate’s requirements which the owners find “too burdensome.” According to the Globes story, hotels spend NIS 366 million ($100 million) every year for the kashrus certificates.