By COLlive reporter
The anti-Semitic harassment of a mashgiach in the Ataturk Airport in Istanbul, Turkey, has led one kashrus agency to pull out its kosher supervisors from the large Muslim country.
The employee of the Eda Hacharedis, a trusted name with kosher consumers and based out of Jerusalem, was traveling back home to Israel last week when he was confronted about the war in Gaza.
A short while before his flight, a group of people congregated around him and began screaming curses and insults in Arabic, Israeli news websites reported.
A representative of Turkish Airlines, the carrier the Jewish man was flying with, saw the commotion and helped the man escape from the mob to a restricted area until boarding time.
Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was been on a vocal rant against Israel in recent years, which only intensified with the IDF’s Operation Protective Edge against Hamas terrorists. Erdogan said last week that Israel was “worse than Hitler.”
In response to the incident, the Eda Hacharedis ordered its mashgichim stationed at food facilities around Turkey to return home out of fear for their safety. Scheduled trips to the country by its employees were cancelled until further notice.
The decision has financial implications as companies will have to postpone production lines planned at Turkish food plants. The kashrus agency reported that manufacturers and distributors asked to rethink or delay the decision, but were refused.
In Europe, growing anti-Semitism has also rung the alarm bells. As a result, kashrus officials think twice before dispatching a rabbi into a part of the world that they may not be familiar with, Kosher Today reports.
According to sources in Israel’s Chief Rabbinate’s office, one direct result of the turmoil in many places in the world is to restrict the travel of kashrus officials in trouble spots, it was reported.
Relying on local rabbis who “understand the lay of the land” seems to be the new modus operandi of many kashrus organizations, it said. The caution has extended even to Israel where some food plants are located in Sderot and other border towns.
Rabbi Moshe Elefant, COO of the Kashrus Division of the Orthodox Union, which certifies companies in some 99 nations, says that the organization relies heavily on local rabbinic authorities in many parts of the world, many within the worldwide Chabad network.