Israel’s hotelier union is probing the possibility of using a private hashgacha instead of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel as required by law, turning to Tzohar Rabbonim to provide kashrus certification, Galei Tzahal (Army Radio) reported on Thursday, 4 Adar. The Chief Rabbinate is quick to respond, stating such a move would be against the law.

The report explains that Tzohar Rabbonim is weighing the establishment of a new kashrus organization and the hoteliers appear to be thinking about making the move at a time the Chief Rabbinate faces numerous High Court of Justice appeals claiming the time has come to get away from the state-run kashrus headed by the Chief Rabbinate.

In the letter sent by union CEO Noaz Bar Nir, he points out “We are trying to reduce the costs of kashrus. Kashrus from Tzohar would be equal or superior to the Chief Rabbinate qualitatively speaking, pertaining to the basic regular non-mehadrin supervision. The union has been in contact Tzohar over the years towards establishing a private alternative which would be qualitatively acceptable towards replacing the Chief Rabbinate’s regular non-mehadrin certification but less costly”.

The Chief Rabbinate is weighing possibly filing a complaint with Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit since by making good on their threat, the union would be breaking the law. If the hotels really break away from the state-run kashrus, it would also deliver a major blow to the Chief Rabbinate’s image as well as a financial loss to the tune of NIS millions.

In its response, Zohar explains it is not planning to open an alternative kashrus framework for as long as doing saw is a violation of the law. “The organization is however given the idea thought under today’s current reality.