BEL­GIUM STARTS SHECHITA BAN

The Jewish Chronicle - - FRONT PAGE - BY JC RE­PORTER

A BAN on kosher slaugh­ter has taken ef­fect in parts of Bel­gium af­ter re­gional par­lia­ments in­tro­duced pro­hi­bi­tions for an­i­mals that have not been prestunned.

Shechita is banned in Flan­ders as of Jan­uary 1, while sim­i­lar re­stric­tions will be in place in the French-speak­ing Wal­loon re­gion from Septem­ber 2019.

Lo­cal rab­bis said it was in di­rect con­tra­dic­tion to Jewish law, which re­quires that an an­i­mal be un­in­jured and in op­ti­mal health be­fore slaugh­ter.

One added that the Bel­gian mea­sures were putting Jewish lives “at risk”

Mus­lim rit­ual slaugh­ter for ha­lal prod­ucts will be sim­i­larly cur­tailed by the new ar­range­ments.

The Flem­ish re­stric­tions do not pre­vent peo­ple liv­ing in Bel­gium from im­port­ing ha­lachi­cally slaugh­tered meat from Euro­pean Union coun­tries in which it is not out­lawed.

“This is very un­for­tu­nate for us,” said Rabbi Me­nachem Mar­golin, a Bel­gian res­i­dent who chairs the Europe Jewish As­so­ci­a­tion.

He told the JC that his com­mu­nity was still able to im­port kosher meat from the Nether­lands and Hun­gary, but that it set a bad prece­dent and could lead to the pro­hi­bi­tion of brit mi­lah, or cir­cum­ci­sion.

“To have the gov­ern­ment in­ter­fere in this way is dam­ag­ing to the rep­u­ta­tion of the Jewish peo­ple as a com­mu­nity. It im­plies that we as a group are ir­re­spon­si­ble with the wel­fare of an­i­mals and need gov­ern­ment su­per­vi­sion which is, of course, a very neg­a­tive view of us,” Rabbi Mar­golin said.

Rit­ual slaugh­ter of an­i­mals without prior stun­ning is out­lawed in sev­eral Euro­pean coun­tries, in­clud­ing Den­mark, Nor­way, Swe­den and par­tially in Switzer­land.

“Time and again, the Jewish com­mu­nity is told by se­nior EU of­fi­cials that there is no Europe without the Jews. Th­ese bans un­der­mine those state­ments and put Jewish life at risk,” said Pin­chas Gold­schmidt, pres­i­dent of the Con­fer­ence of Euro­pean Rab­bis.

Le­gal chal­lenges against the leg­is­la­tion passed by the Flem­ish and Wal­loon par­lia­ments are be­ing spon­sored by the Law­fare Project, which cam­paigns against an­tisemitic dis­crim­i­na­tion.

PHOTO: FLASH90

Cy­clists in the Flem­ish town of An­twerp

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