The Tzohar Rabbinical Organization announced Feb. 26 the launch of an independent kosher food certification system for restaurants and hotels. The group stated that it did not intend to replace the Chief Rabbinate’s kosher oversight body or to compete with it, but to improve religious services to restaurateurs and also to clients.
This move generated angry reactions by the Chief Rabbinate, but it was rather surprising to see that the most vocal opposition to Tzohar’s new kosher (kashrut) certification initiative came from its own camp. On March 6, a group of rabbis long associated with Tzohar signed a petition opposing the initiative and calling for a boycott. In a conversation with Al-Monitor, Rabbi Rafi Feuerstein, a leader of Tzohar, said that those rabbis opposed to the initiative identify with the ultra-Orthodox nationalist sector. In other words, their positions concerning religious law are closer to those of the ultra-Orthodox.