Greek Jewish community calls for legislation to legalize “shechita”


The Greek Jewish community is considering asking the Greek government to draft legislation to legalize shechita, the slaughter of kosher animals, after the country’s highest court ruled last week that the practice was illegal.

The Council of State, Greece’s supreme administrative court, overturned regulations issued by ministerial decision that provided for an exemption from prior stunning for religious slaughter of animals.

This means that shechita in Greece became illegal overnight, depriving the Jewish community of kosher meat from Greece.

Victor Eliezer, secretary general of the Central Council of Jewish Communities in Greece, said Jerusalem post by e-mail that the organization will now “appeal to the competent authorities seeking to cooperate in order to find a viable solution which will allow kosher slaughter in Greece”.

Eliezer added that the Central Council believes the current government “has the political will to tackle the problem,” and added that the Jewish community “enjoys productive cooperation and mutual understanding with the government and state authorities ”.

A slaughterer cuts beef carcasses into pieces at the slaughterhouse at the Biernacki meat factory in Golina near Jarocin, western Poland, July 17, 2013. (KACPER PEMPEL / REUTERS)

Meanwhile, the Jewish community, numbering between 4,000 and 5,000, is content with kosher meat imported from elsewhere in Europe, although Eliezer noted that it costs much more than producing local kosher meat. .

“We hope that the competent authorities of the Greek state will soon settle the issue of the slaughter of animals with a just and viable solution that will ensure the continued observance of the religious duties of Greek Jews, as well as thousands of Jewish visitors. in Greece, ”Eliezer said.

In 2020, the European Court of Justice upheld the ban on kosher and halal slaughter in Belgium and rejected arguments that the ban violated the religious rights of Jews and Muslims by requiring them to stun animals before slaughter, which is prohibited by Jewish and Islamic law.

Although the European Court of Justice ruling said its ruling was only relevant to Belgium’s specific case, European Jewish leaders at the time expressed concern that it would set a precedent for others to European countries enact bans and block legal remedies against such legislation, and even against decisions of national courts.

Shimon Cohen of Shechita UK said the idea that the ruling would not set a precedent was ‘a pipe dream’ and that the European Court’s ruling ‘indicated to other countries that they could insist on stunning’ despite objections religious.

Although the Council of State decision does not mention the European Court’s decision, Cohen noted that this decision now hangs over any possible appeal against the Greek decision to the European Court.

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