City council approves new bylaw prohibiting sale of pork in city. Opposing council members slam move, threaten to go to High Court
Published: 07.17.07, 14:23 / Israel Money
The Netanya City Council approved a bylaw prohibiting the sale of pork in the city on Tuesday. Those opposing the law called it "religious coercion and violation of the dominant status-quo in the city".
The bylaw was passed despite the legal council’s opinion that it would not be approved by the Interior Ministry or the High Court of Justice due to the fact that before such a decision is reached a poll must be taken among the population in areas where non-kosher meat vendors may choose to set up shop.
Netanya Mayor Miriam Fierberg urged also Israeli MKs to legislate a law to completely prohibit the sale of pork products in Israel.
Some 70 stores specializing in pork products can be found in Netanya's city center, and most of their customers are immigrants from the former Soviet Union.
Up until now, the residents remained silent on the subject, but the opening of a new pork-selling supermarket in the city center sparked protests by haredim, who chained themselves to the supermarket's doors on Sunday.
Following the incident, the bylaw prohibiting the sale of pork was brought up by Netanya's Deputy Mayor and Council Member Mandy Weiss and a City Council meeting was called to pass the bill.
Fifty percent of Netanya's City Council members are religious or traditional, which led to the passing of the bill, with only three out of 25 council members opposing it; one council member abstained.
Council Member Boris Tsirulnik, who opposed the bylaw said in response, "This law was proposed out of political motives for the upcoming elections. We will not let this law be approved, we will turn to the Interior Ministry, and if we have to, we will turn to the High Court of Justice because this law goes against Basic Law: Freedom of Occupation and Human Dignity and Liberty.
"Residents of the city who use the services of the pork-selling stores should not have to leave the city in order to purchase these products. We are talking about 70 stores that support 2,000 families. Closing these stores will lead to their dismissal and harm their income."
Council Member Adir Benyamini, who also opposed the law, said, "The supporters of the law want to force norms befitting Iran."
During the council meeting, Benyamini went so far as to suggest an inquisitor be appointed and provided with tools, "just like the inquisitors in Spain were given in order to enforce the law".