A senior official in the Chief Rabbinate received money from food importers who demanded Kashrut certificates. MK Stern: the Right-Wing, Ultra-Orthodox block is creating an umbrella for criminal activity.

Wednesday, December 12, Kan radio news exposed that the manager of the department of imports at the Chief Rabbinate, Rabbi Yitzchak Cohen Arazi, was documented receiving envelopes of cash from food importers who demanded Kashrut certifications for their products.

The police have a series of documentation that is at the core of an investigation in which Arazi is suspected of receiving bribes over the course of a few years. Arazi was the sole authority on certificates of Kashrut for imported food.

The Chief Rabbinate responded:

“without making light of the suspicions about the integrity of the worker, we would like to remind everyone that the police and the prosecution have said there is no suspicion of failings of the Kashrut itself”.

MK Stern (Blue and White) responded:

“It was published that head of the department of imports at the Chief Rabbinate was documented taking envelopes (receiving bribes). We have already had a Chief Rabbi go to prison for doing conversions in return for money and a the Head Rabbi of a city who was convicted of similar actions. The Right-Wing, Ultra-Orthodox block is creating an umbrella for criminal activity in order to serve their political interests. I admit that more than anything, I am bothered by the fact that Religious Zionism (Tziyonot Datit), in which I grew up and to which I belong, is a part of the block. The backup that the political Religious Zionism gives to these norms has made me as sad as the early elections. Yes, sad but at peace, in the hopes that next time we will succeed in applying Jewish and democratic values to Israel that our grandchildren will be proud of and not ashamed”.

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