January 19, 2022

Israel’s Kashrus Controversy Adds Confusion to Tourists

Israel is in the midst of an unprecedented kashrus controversy that has become highly political. The current government is seeking to end the monopoly by the Chief Rabbinate on kashrus issues. For American tourists, negotiating the kashrus scene in Israel has always been nightmarish. They often long to return to the “simplicity” of the kashrus standards in the US where they are familiar with most certifications and symbols. The fear is that the reforms being advocated will further cause confusion for Americans. Glatt? Whose glatt? Chief Rabbinate? Which rabbinate, local or regional?

For the sake of the tens of thousands who vacation in Israel, I am hoping that kashrus standards can somehow live up to American standards and symbols. I recently spoke to a young immigrant woman who says she simply buys American products with an American hechsher. Large agencies like the Orthodox Union do on occasion grant kosher status to various factories and even hotels.