Ending the Israeli Rabbinate’s Monopoly on Kosher Certification Will Strengthen Religious Observance

Aug. 16 2021

Currently, the Jewish state gives the chief rabbinate the exclusive right to certify restaurants and packaged foods as kosher. But a bill now before the Knesset would reform this system, allowing some degree of competition. David Stav, a prominent Israeli Orthodox rabbi, makes the case for such changes:

Rabbinical services and those aspects of Jewish life that are defined by our ancient traditions must be transparent and open. It is for this reason that this reform is so important for the very future of our Jewish nation and for Judaism in general.

[The current] centralized system by definition leads itself to inefficiency and, sadly, even corruption. A widespread presence of such irregularities was the conclusion of a comprehensive report on Israel’s kashrut industry issued several years ago by Israel’s state comptroller. . . . [W]hen you have a system with no competitors and limited oversight, it is only natural that it will lead to cutting corners, improprieties, increased costs and, unfortunately, a truly broken system.

It is also well worth pointing out that many within Israel’s ultra-Orthodox community recognize this, and even the very individuals who are involved with overseeing the rabbinate’s kashrut don’t trust it when it comes to the foods they will eat. Israel’s High Court has found that the current system is problematic because of the existence of illicit compensation relationships between business owners and supervisors.

In business, no one would accept such a scenario. So it is hard to believe that the people of the Jewish state should accept it when it comes to one of our most important and sacred traditions.

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Read more at Jewish Journal

More about: Israeli Chief Rabbinate, Judaism in Israel, Kashrut, Knesset

 

How China Equips the Islamic Republic to Repress Its People

In its dedication to bringing totalitarianism into the 21st century, the Chinese Communist party has developed high-tech forms of surveillance using facial-recognition software, a vast system of “social credit,” and careful control over its subjects’ cellular phones. Even stricter and more invasive measures are applied to the Uyghurs of the northwestern part of the country. Beijing is also happy to export its innovations in tyranny to allies like Iran and Russia. Playing a key role in these advances is a nominally private company called Tiandy Technologies. Craig Singleton describes its activities:

Both Tiandy testimonials and Chinese-government press releases advertise the use of the company’s products by Chinese officials to track and interrogate Uyghur Muslims and other ethnic minorities in China’s Xinjiang province. According to human-rights groups, Chinese authorities also employ Tiandy products, such as “tiger chairs,” to torture Uyghurs and other minorities.

Iran has long relied on China to augment its digital surveillance capabilities, and Tehran was an early adopter of Beijing’s “social-credit” system, which it wields to assess citizens’ behavior and trustworthiness. . . . Iranian government representatives have publicized plans to leverage smart technologies, including AI-powered face recognition, to maintain regime stability and neutralize dissent. Enhanced cooperation with China is central to those efforts.

At present, Tiandy is not subject to U.S. sanctions or export controls. In light of Tiandy’s operations in both Xinjiang and Iran, policymakers should consider removing the company, its owner, and stakeholders from the international financial system and global supply chains.

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Read more at FDD

More about: China, Human Rights, Iran, Totalitarianism, U.S. Foreign policy