The Chief Rabbinate of Israel has ordered a rogue batch of Trump Vodka of the shelves, saying it was not properly certified as kosher.
The gold bottle vodka, bearing the name of the US president-elect, was discontinued in 2011, but its spirit lives on in Israel, where it is sold under licence, as the vodka of choice for Passover-observant drinkers.
In its latest kashrut update issued Monday, the Chief Rabbinate announced that one batch of the alcohol was imported without receiving the correct licence.
Even though the bottles bear the kosher label of the internationally recognized Manchester-based Badatz Igud Rabbonim and of the Israeli Chief Rabbinate, the bottles do not have the authorization from the rabbinate’s import division which liaises between foreign and local kashrut authorities, it said noting that all bottles with the code L34211120 “should be removed from the shelves.”
Despite bearing the stamp of the Chief Rabbinate, all imported products must also be labelled with a sticker from the import division listing production details.
Trump Vodka was introduced in 2006 under the tagline “success distilled,” and marketed as a premium vodka that would “demand the same respect and inspire the same awe as the international legacy and brand of Donald Trump himself.”
While it is no longer available anywhere else, it remains popular in Israel particularly over Passover, because it is made from potatoes as opposed to grain. As such it is the only kosher-for-Passover option for those who observe the dietary restrictions of the holiday.
Last month the Chief Rabbinate in Jerusalem was accused of using kashrut licenses to prevent marketplace competition. It revoked the kosher certification of one Israeli importer of Jack Daniel’s whiskey, while leaving in place the license for the drink’s official importer to the country, even though the whiskey sold by both importers apparently comes from the same factory, and bears kosher approval from the US Orthodox Union, known as the OU.
By Israeli law, food products may only be imported if they win the approval of the Israeli rabbinate, regardless of whether they are also certified by a foreign kosher authority. So, by removing certification from competing importers, the rabbinate is in effect able to create monopolies and keep prices artificially high.
The Chief Rabbinate has been accused of blocking kosher products to further commercial interests of competing importers in products ranging from Nutella to Corona beer.