A Future Israeli Chief Rabbi’s Vigorous Defense of Kosher Slaughter before the Irish Parliament

March 26 2021

Last year, an EU court upheld a Belgian law banning the kosher and halal slaughter of animals. Such regulations, note Baruch Sterman and Judy Taubes Sterman, have a long history in Europe, going back to a Swiss ban from 1893 that remains in effect. In 1934, the Irish senate considered forbidding sh’itah—as the practice is known in Hebrew—leading the country’s chief rabbi, Isaac Halevy Herzog, to address the body and urge it to reconsider. A sympathizer with Irish nationalism, a friend of the Sinn Féin leader Éamon de Valera, and a participant in the drafting of the Irish constitution, Herzog was also a renowned halakhist who would go on to be Israel’s first chief rabbi. The Stermans describe Herzog’s case:

Herzog’s presentation [was] a masterful display of [his] unique capacity, evident throughout his career, to combine various disciplines, secular and Jewish, scientific, political, and philosophic, to make his case. . . . According to Herzog, the clear purpose of [kosher slaughter’s] detailed precepts is to prevent, or reduce significantly, any possible suffering or pain for the animal. “The charges of inhumaneness leveled against sh’ḥitah are either due to the lack of knowledge of physiology, to imperfect information, or to blind anti-Semitic prejudice,” he declared.

As support for this assertion, he submitted into evidence the opinions of no fewer than 457 “continental scientists and veterinary surgeons, mostly Gentile Christians.”

His . . . remarks highlighted a position Herzog would passionately champion again and again throughout his life. Not only did he maintain that Jewish law is inherently just and moral, but Herzog’s unwavering conviction that the Torah and its laws were given by a benevolent and compassionate God meant that, comparatively, it is indeed the most righteous and the most ethical of any legal system that has ever existed from ancient times to the present.

The Stermans quote Herzog’s “chilling” and “prescient” closing:

Lastly may I say how painful it is to the Jew to see and hear his religion charged with cruelty to animals. To those anti-sh’ḥitah humanists, whoever they may be, who charge Judaism with cruelty to dumb creatures, but who are themselves so ominously dumb in the face of the suffering, the cruelty and the agony inflicted upon Jews in Christian lands, I would say that centuries before the Aryans had any idea of humaneness towards human beings, let alone animals, . . . Israel’s Divine law commanded us to help the animal that has fallen down to rise up.

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Read more at Commentary

More about: Animals, Ireland, Israeli Chief Rabbinate, Judaism, Kashrut

Iran’s Responsibility for West Bank Terror

On Friday, a Palestinian stabbed an Israeli police officer and was then shot by another officer after trying to grab his rifle. Commenting on the many similar instances of West Bank-based terror during the past several months, Amit Saar, a senior IDF intelligence officer, predicted that the violence will likely grow worse in the coming year. Yoni Ben Menachem explains the Islamic Republic’s role in fueling this wave of terrorism:

The escape of six terrorists from Gilboa prison in September 2021 was the catalyst for the establishment of new terrorist groups in the northern West Bank, according to senior Islamic Jihad officials. The initiative to establish new armed groups was undertaken by Palestinian Islamic Jihad in coordination with Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, implementing the strategy of Qassem Suleimani—the commander of the Quds Force of the Revolutionary Guards who was assassinated in Iraq by the U.S.—of using proxies to achieve the goals of expansion of the Iranian regime.

After arming Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza, Iran moved in the last year to support the new terrorist groups in the northern West Bank. Iran has been pouring money into the Islamic Jihad organization, which began to establish new armed groups under the name of “Battalions,” which also include terrorists from other organizations such as Fatah, Hamas, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. First, the “Jenin Battalion” was established in the city of Jenin, followed the “Nablus Battalion.”

Despite large-scale arrest operation by the IDF and the Shin Bet in the West Bank, Islamic Jihad continues to form new terrorist groups, including the “Tulkarem Battalion,” the “Tubas Battalion,” and the “Balata Battalion” in the Balata refugee camp.

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Read more at Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Palestinian terror, West Bank