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0202 – Points of View from Jerusalem

News Digest: Barkan Winery Ethiopian workers [1]


“I want to boycott the Barkan winery after I heard a discussion on Reshet B [radio station] which said that in order to meet the requirements of Badatz's [2] Kashrut [3] the director of the winery demanded that Ethiopian workers [4] be transferred to other departments due to the doubt concerning their Jewishness. These were very veteran workers in Israel and in the winery.”

– Sheila Abbo in ‘Jerusalemites’ FB group

[Selected Comments]:
– "This isn’t a matter of racism… Go read the laws regarding wine making and get a broader picture."
— [in response]: “In this case, it is a matter of racism. This particular Badatz supervision from the Haredi sector discriminate against the Ethiopians because they do not consider them Jews.”
– “Let's talk sense. Just because you want to boycott this Badatz [kosher supervision agency], does not mean that you should boycott all the Badatz kosher supervisions. It’s like saying that you want to boycott all the car importers in Israel because there is slight discrimination against Renault. This Badatz supervision is a particular Haredi one, from a particular Hassidic stream. There are lots of others that are fine and have integrity.”

[From the Photo:]

“The Chief Rabbi attacks Badatz: The only explanation for the director's instruction is pure racism. Ethiopian Jews are Jewish for all intents and purposes. This raises a significant doubt whether one can trust a kosher institution that sees itself as strict, when at the same time, it is lenient when it comes to shaming and hurting other Jews – only because of the color of their skin.”

– Jerusalemites FB Group

[Selected Comments:]
– "He’s right!"
– "It’s sad that, they are shaming people in the name of religion."
– "Finally, a suitable response from the rabbinical institution. Well done."


"Barkan winery racially discriminated against Ethiopians. As far as I’m concerned, I’m not going to have anything to do with them."

– Jerusalemites FB Group

[Selected Comments:]
– "You’ve missed the point. The racists here are Badatz."
– "The problem is Badatz Edah HaChareidis, my dear. If you boycott Barkan winery, you will be harming someone who isn’t the source of the problem. […] The heart of the matter is that we are ‘hostages’ of Badatz, because most of the products in supermarkets are supervised by them. If you decide to boycott Badatz, you won’t even be able to by Tnuva or Tara milk."
– "So it’s ok that they don’t employ women or secular people for kosher reasons? Only Ethiopians should be protected?"
– "Barkan considered whether to oppose Badatz’s racist employment demands or accept them to receive their kosher stamp. They decided that acting in a racist manner is more beneficial, so it is their fault."



"The Chief Rabbi v. the Badatz: 'It is very doubtful that we can rely on them'.

The Chief Rabbi attacked the Badatz, which is considered the most popular Kosher certification among the Haredi sector, and said: 'I see with great severity the directive issued by those who call themselves a kashrut body to disqualify Ethiopian religious observant workers from producing wine. There is no explanation for such an instruction other than pure racism. The Ethiopian immigrants are Jews in every respect … It is highly doubtful that we can trust a kashrut body that sees itself as being so strict but is lenient when it comes to the humiliation of other Jews solely because of the color of their skin."

-Kikar Hashabat

0202 Editor’s Notes:
[1] This digest refers to an event this week when the director of the Barkan winery demanded the transfer of Ethiopian employees to other departments. This was due to a doubt concerning their Jewishness and in order to adhere to the most stringent religious demands made by the Kosher certification organization ‘Badatz’ (see below). It should be noted that the winery's directory claimed in a letter to his employees yesterday that the workers in question were not at all fired or transferred from their positions.
[2] People use ‘Badatz’ to describe a particularly stringent standard of kosher supervision that is common in the Haredi sector. The standards of Kashrut differ in the different streams of Judaism.
[3] Kashrut, Kosher – Jewish dietary laws. When a business chooses to observe the rules of Kashrut in its establishment, it can pay to have an inspector frequent the premises to ensure that the food is indeed upheld to certain Jewish legal standards. The business then receives a certificate showing that it is under rabbinical supervision. In Israel, a business may only advertise that its products are kosher, if it received certification from a local branch of the State rabbinate. For wine to be certified kosher, as well as the use of only Kosher ingredients, Sabbath observant Jews must supervise, and sometimes handle the entire wine-making process – from the moment the grapes are crushed, until the wine is bottled.
[4] Since the arrival of Ethiopian Jews to Israel, doubt regarding their Jewishness has been raised by different political and religious camps.

#Religion #Racism #Ethiopian_Jews #Judaism #Religious_Law