Denmark’s Ambassador to Israel Jesper Vahr rejected as “very insulting” accusations by Israeli officials that the country’s ban on slaughter without stunning amounted to anti-Semitism.
“European anti-Semitism is showing its true colors across Europe, and is even intensifying in the government institutions,” Israel’s Deputy Minister of Religious Services Rabbi Eli Ben Dahan said in response to Denmark’s decision.
“If this quote by the Deputy Religious Affairs Minister is directed at Denmark – and from what I read it appears to be – I not only reject it but also hold it to be very insulting to a country whose citizens during World War II stood up for their Jewish countrymen and helped Jews in Nazi-occupied Denmark escape to Sweden, the result of which was that 99 per cent of Jews in Denmark survived World War II,” Vahr told Ynet Monday.
He added that the new regulations “will not introduce any change compared to present practices.”
The new regulations were expected to go into effect on Monday.
Danish Agriculture Minister Dan Jorgensen told a local news agency last week that new regulations would outlaw all kosher slaughter in the country.
The minister’s characterization was disputed by Danish Jewish community head Finn Schwarz, who told JTA that Danish Jews already agreed in 1998 to the certification as kosher of meat from cattle that were stunned with non-penetrative captive bolt pistols. He said that the decision was made in consultation with the British Chief Rabbi’s office. The new regulation announced by Jorgensen will not ban the slaughter of animals after stunning with non-penetrative captive bolts, Schwarz said.
The last shechitah performed in Denmark reportedly happened more than 10 years ago. The Danish Jewish community, which numbers about 6,000, imports its kosher meat.
Rabbi Yair Melchior, the head of the Jewish community in Copenhagen, said calling the slaughter ban anti-Semitic was inaccurate and would not help in the effort to repeal the law, according to Ynet.
Ashkenazi chief rabbi David Lau called the new regulations “|a serious and severe blow to the Jewish faith and to the Jews of Denmark.”