World Jewish News
Dutch Jewish organisation signs agreement with Minister to safeguard the continuation of Sechita in the country
06.07.2017, Jews and Society
While Jewish religious practices and rights such as Shechita, are under pressure some European countries, including Belgium, NIK, the Organisation of Jewish Communities in the Netherlands, has signed an agreement with the Dutch Minister of Agriucuture which will guarantee the right to continue ritual slaughter of aniamls in the country.
The agreement, an annex to the 2012 treaty regarding slaughter according to religious rights, was signed by the NIK President Jonathan Soesman and General Director Ruben Vis, together with representatives of the slaughter industry and the Muslim community.
The treaty and addendum will be put into a new regulation which comes into force January 1 2018, enabling and guaranteeing the continuation of the right to exercise Shechita in the Netherlands.
‘’This achievement is of great value. We consider the addendum as a confirmation of the space to act according to its own Jewish belief and its fulfillment.It can be concluded that freedom of religion can be executed in a modern society and must be advocated for,’’ NIK said.
Five years ago, NIK and the Dutch Minister of Agriculture signed a treaty. This treaty was a result of a session in the parliament which rejected a proposal bill of the Party for the Animals by a large majority and a resolution by a broad spectrum of political parties calling upon the minister to come to an agreement with the religious communities and the slaughterhouse sector to better regulate slaughter according to religious rites and to determine and apply technical refinements.
In neighbouring Belgium, the parliament of Flanders recently voted to ban religious slaughter without stunning, following a similar move by another Belgian region, Wallonia, in May. Kosher slaughterhouses in Antwerp, the capital of the Flanders region, provide meat to many Jewish communities across Europe.
The Belgian Jewish community has vowed to fight both the Walloon and Flanders’ decisions. Rabbi Menachem Margolin, head of the European Jewish Association (EJA), a Brussels-based group representing Jewish communitiers across Europe, accused lawmakers of targeting Jews and said the decisions ''have a strong stench of populism.''
''This is a direct attack on Jews and our practice when it comes to slaughtering. When it comes to the mass market slaughterhouses, where mistakes frequently affect up to 10% of all animals, meaning they die in an awful painful death, compared to shechita, the kosher slaughter, where the suffering of the animal is kept to the most minimum levels possible,'' he said. ''It quickly becomes apparent that this decision is not about health or animal welfare.’’ Rabbi Margolin added as he stressed that ''we will fight this latest decision wih all legal and political means at our disposal.''