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Haredi MK compares religious affairs minister to villain of Hanukkah story

United Torah Judaism party leader Moshe Gafni after a faction meeting at the Knesset on April 26, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
United Torah Judaism party leader Moshe Gafni after a faction meeting at the Knesset on April 26, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

United Torah Judaism leader Moshe Gafni attacks Religious Affairs Minister Matan Kahana over his proposed reforms of the kashrut certification industry.

“Antiochus!” shouts Gafni in Kahana’s direction in the Knesset plenum. Antiochus is remembered in the Jewish tradition as the villain of the Hanukkah holiday who sought to ban Jewish religious rites, sparking the Maccabean revolt.

The plan released by Kahana, who is Orthodox, would establish a series of private kosher certification agencies that will be required to uphold religious standards established by the Chief Rabbinate.

The proposed plan would also see the creation of an overarching supervisory body of the Chief Rabbinate to monitor the private agencies and ensure they uphold the standards they have promised to meet.

According to the plan, however, if an agency wants to issue a certificate with a lower level of kashrut than the Chief Rabbinate, it can do so with the approval of three city rabbinate-approved rabbis, and issue a different certification — including one that can be given to restaurants open on Shabbat. The proposal has been attacked by the Chief Rabbinate and Haredi lawmakers.

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