On official trips, PMO doesn’t keep kosher, MK charges

On official trips, PMO doesn’t keep kosher, MK charges

An official who travels with Netanyahu says trips have been ‘kosher-style’ for decades; those who ask for it get kosher food

Haviv Rettig Gur is The Times of Israel's senior analyst.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu enjoying falafel in Acre, December 2012. (photo credit: Michal Fattal/Flash90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu enjoying falafel in Acre, December 2012. (photo credit: Michal Fattal/Flash90)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s retinue does not insist on kosher food when traveling abroad on official visits, MK Aliza Lavie (Yesh Atid) charged on Thursday.

On a recent visit to the Polish parliament to discuss the re-legalization of kosher slaughter in the country, “many lawmakers we met said that during the last visit [to Poland] of the prime minister, the Israeli side didn’t insist on kosher meals,” Lavie told Army Radio. “The Polish interpreted that as signifying that kashrut was not a very important issue.”

Shehita, or kosher slaughter, has been a contentious issue in Poland since it was made illegal late last year. A bill that would re-instate it was voted down by the lower house of the Polish parliament, the Sejm, in mid-July. Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk has promised to establish a committee to investigate the issue, according to the Polish Ambassador to the EU Marek Prawda.

Reached for comment, an Israeli official who participated in Netanyahu’s last trip to Poland told The Times of Israel there was nothing new in the Prime Minister’s Office kashrut policy.

“The whole visit was done, as is usually done, kosher-style. I distinctly remember we were served fish. For those members of the delegation who asked for it, and there are quite a few [in the PMO], there was proper kosher food under rabbinic [supervision].”

The kosher food was served “on separate plates, and a rabbi present made sure it was really kosher,” the official recalled.

“That’s been the standard for decades,” he noted.

The official also rejected Lavie’s suggestion that Israeli officials’ level of observance was connected to the Polish decision to outlaw kosher slaughter. “I don’t see any basis in these claims,” the official said.

Miriam Shaviv contributed to this report.

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