Demanding the impossible, Israel says pork can only be imported if it’s kosher

Netanyahu’s caretaker government quietly changes regulations to bar entry of pig products into country, though domestic production remains intact

Pigs at a farm in Goudelin, western France, on  February 13, 2019. (Damien Meyer/AFP)
Pigs at a farm in Goudelin, western France, on February 13, 2019. (Damien Meyer/AFP)

The Economy Ministry has quietly amended its regulations on pork and lard imports, impossibly conditioning their entry into Israel on a kosher certification.

Since the products are decisively forbidden by Jewish dietary restrictions, the move effectively bans the imports of pork products to the Jewish state.

The revised regulations, published Wednesday, refer to pork belly, intestines, and edible lards made from pork by-products. Alongside the listing of the products, the ministry added a new requirement: kosher certification.

Though the import of non-kosher meats has been banned in Israel since 1994, exceptions were previously made for pork parts, sausages, lard, seafood, and several other items, according to Channel 12.

Some 295 tons of pork and lard were imported under former economy minister Naftali Bennett from 2013 to 2015, which dropped to 93 tons under Shas leader Aryeh Deri during his several-month tenure in the post in 2015, according to figures cited by the network.

It was not clear what prompted the change in regulations. The Economy Ministry could not be immediately reached for comment.

The change was implemented by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s transitional government, which has held office since December, after two successive rounds of elections in April and September have thus far failed to yield a coalition.

The government counts both the ultra-Orthodox Shas and UTJ parties as senior partners.

The change of regulations was condemned on Saturday by Blue and White MK Yair Lapid.

“Dear Israeli government, get out of our plates!” wrote Lapid on Twitter. “The state will not dictate what we can and cannot eat. When we form a government, we will cancel the regulation.”

Domestic pig farming is also restricted under Israeli law, though exceptions are made for farmers in predominantly Christian areas.

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