Rabbinate cancels caterer’s kashrut certification after presidential fete foul-up
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Rabbinate cancels caterer’s kashrut certification after presidential fete foul-up

Pri Haaretz company apparently served nonkosher meat at Peres's Independence Day shindig

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres, and Defense Minister Ehud Barak participating in the Independence Day event (photo credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres, and Defense Minister Ehud Barak participating in the Independence Day event (photo credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90)

The Emek Hefer Regional Council Rabbinate has canceled the kashrut certification of a catering company that apparently served nonkosher meat at last week’s Independence Day banquet hosted by President Shimon Peres. The company failed to attend a special hearing about the incident on Monday morning.

The original meat consignment was found to have spoiled, so the caterer bought new supplies from a nearby Arab village, Israeli media said.

Initial investigations by the Chief Rabbinate’s Kashrut Fraud unit found that allegations against the Pri Haaretz catering company were well-founded, and it did serve meat bought from a nonkosher restaurant at the official celebration event last week, Maariv reported. The meat was apparently bought to replace a large batch of kosher meat that spoiled the day before the banquet.

As a result, the company was ordered to face a hearing at the rabbinate’s offices on Monday and its kashrut certification was suspended. But company representatives failed to show up for the meeting at the Emek Hefer Rabbinate offices and so officials canceled the kashrut certifications altogether. Without the certifications, the company can no longer claim to provide kosher food services.

An affiliated catering company, Shulitz Catering, has been ordered to perform a koshering process on all of its utensils. Investigators are now checking who within the catering company knew about the nonkosher meat.

The developments came after Maariv on Sunday reported that a representative from Pri Haaretz bought large amounts of meat from a nonkosher shop in Abu Ghosh, an Arab village outside Jerusalem, last Thursday morning, Independence Day.

Surveillance videos revealed that the man was a chef from Pri Haaretz, the company that later the same day catered the official banquet at the President’s Residence attended by the prime minister, the IDF chief of staff, government ministers, 120 outstanding soldiers, and hundreds of others.

Peres’s spokesman said the findings were “very serious” and that the president’s legal team would consider what action to take against Pri Haaretz.

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