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Food News


THIS SECTION IS FOR NEWS AND INTERESTING STORIES RELATED TO FOOD, NUTRITION AND FOOD PROCESSING. THEY ARE NOT NECESSARILY RELATED TO KOSHER BUT MAY BE OF INTEREST TO THE KOSHER CONSUMER, MANUFACTURER OR MASHGIACH.

Chief Rabbinate Senior Official on Trial for Issuing Kashrut Certificates in Exchange for Bribes

June 23, 2020 - from Jewish Press:

"Rabbi Yitzhak Cohen Arazi, a former senior Chief Rabbinate official who was in charge of issuing kashrut certificates to imported products, will face criminal indictments in court next week for receiving bribes worth NIS 150,000 ($44,000) over several years."

"On Monday, Kan 11 News showed a compilation of videos taken by a hidden camera in Rabbi Arazi’s vehicle, showing him receiving envelopes full of money from importers seeking his services. Police investigators received a court order to plant the camera when they learned of the suspicions that the Rabbinate senior official was giving kosher permits in exchange for bribes."

"Rabbi Arazi claims that he transferred all the money he received from importers to charity. He served as director of the Chief Rabbinate import department from 1997 until the start of the investigation against him."

"Rabbi Arazi worked with kashrut supervisors, importers and consultants who sought to obtain kosher certificates – which he had the exclusive authority to issue – for all the food products imported into the State of Israel except meat. Which means he had a wide discretion in prioritizing applications submitted to his office."

"The bribes allegedly came in the form of cash, large amounts of alcoholic beverages, and the very consumer goods for which importers were seeking kosher certificates."

"n some cases, the bribe was allegedly given to Rabbi Arazi after he had told the importers that the cash money was intended for families in need, as financial support for yeshiva students, or to alleviate his own financial distress."

"The Chief Rabbinate issued a statement saying that 'without taking lightly the suspicions regarding the employee’s behavior, we would like to note that according to the police and the prosecutor’s office there is no suspicion of misleading the public in terms of kashrut.'"

"In other words, even if the senior Chief Rabbinate official did receive bribes to the tune of hundreds of thousands of shekels, the products he approved were kosher and so no harm was caused to the public."

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