March 6, 2018

Pushback in Israel over Poland’s Controversial Holocaust Law and Kosher Slaughter Ban

Tel Aviv - Should Israel continue to do business with Poland? This is a recent debate fueled by Poland’s new Holocaust Law making it a crime to state that the Poles were complicit in the Holocaust and the latest attempts to ban schechita (kosher slaughter). The latter is especially puzzling to Israeli rabbis who annually certify some 5,000 tons of meat that are slaughtered in Poland and exported to Israel, an estimated $400 million annually. In addition, Israel imports many other food products and is one of Poland’s largest sources of tourism, especially the many groups who participate in the March of the Living and other heritage tours. One rabbi told Kosher Today that despite Israel’s shortage of some meats, namely beef, there was a serious effort underway to find other sources including South America which is also a key supply source of meats for Israel. “Their behavior is a total mystery,” said the rabbi. “History is certainly not on their side with the facts of Polish complicity being clear and for them now to seek to ban schechita which has historically been a symbol of government sponsored anti-Semitism.” If Israel’s beef supply from Poland is up for grabs, there are several other countries, not necessarily in Europe, who would welcome the economic boon that such a large scale business would bring.