Following the Supreme Court discussion Tuesday on the Chief Rabbinate’s monopoly on kosher certification and the request of restaurants to declare that they are kosher without being subordinated to the Rabbinate, Dr. Shuki Friedman, Director of the Israel Democracy’s Center for Religion, Nation and State, said the central issue of the debate should not be whether or not it would be permissible to put up a sign or verbally say an establishment is kosher.

“The Israeli kashrut system is simply bad,” said Friedman. “The cost of keeping kosher is rising and the kosher certification currently bestowed by the Rabbinate is not trusted by the public. Leaving the Rabbinate’s monopoly in place would only perpetuate an already difficult situation.

“Further, the recommendation of the committee of the Chief Rabbinate, which was publicized today, to enable competition between religious councils and local rabbis is bound to fail. It will perpetuate the ‘Wild West’ of the current market and perhaps make it worse.

“Only a different model, one which will end the Chief Rabbinate’s monopoly and enable the opening of the kosher industry to competition and pluralism, will bring about a change in the situation and help rehabilitate the image of religious institutions in Israel.”