Rabbinical Centre of Europe Lauds Decision to Strike Down Law Against Shechitah in Holland’s Upper House
as Victory of Dutch Tolerance and Common Sense
The Rabbinical Centre of Europe (RCE) has lauded the decision by the Upper House of the Dutch Parliament to strike down a law that could have meant the proscription of shechitah, Jewish religious slaughter, in Holland.
The vote was opposed by 51 Members of the Senate and supported by 21. The law passed by the Lower House in June last year proscribed all slaughter without the use of pre-stunning, something not allowed under Jewish Law. However, an agreement signed earlier this month between the Dutch Jewish community, represented by the Organization of the Jewish Communities in the Netherlands, or NIK, and the Dutch Government, found a compromise position which allowed shechitah to continue while taking into consideration animal welfare concerns.
Prominent member of RCE and Chief Rabbi of the Inter-Provincial Rabbinate in Holland, Binyomin Jacobs, who played a prominent role in the agreement expressed satisfaction after the vote. “The vote in the Dutch Senate is a victory for tolerance common sense,” Rabbi Jacobs said. “I would like to thank our government and all the politicians, especially Deputy Agriculture Minister Henk Bleker, who were involved to prevent the attempts to ban shechitah. The rejection of this law, is not only good for the Jewish community, whose future was threatened by it, it is good for Dutch society as protects freedom of religion as enshrined by the European Charter of Fundamental Rights.”
The RCE was highly involved in the campaign to protect shechitah since it first came under attack over a year ago by animal welfare groups in Holland.
“Holland has a long history of tolerance and as a welcome place for Jews so it is important that Jewish traditions are protected in the Netherlands,” Deputy Director of the RCE, Rabbi Aryeh Goldberg said. “The vote against the law sends an important message to other parts of Europe that Jewish life is an important facet on our continent. Unfortunately, there are other groups who are trying to attack Jewish traditions in Europe, so this is an important victory, not just for the Dutch Jeiwsh community, but for wider European Jewry.”
The RCE is an organization representing over 700 rabbis from across Europe and sees to the needs of Jewish communities on the European continent.