Greek Supreme Court: “Kosher slaughter is contrary to EU law”

“Religious freedom for Jews is under direct attack throughout Europe by the very institutions that have vowed to protect our communities.” – Rabbi Menachem Margolin

By Yossi Aloni | | Topics: European Union, Kosher, religious liberty
Rabbi with razor-sharp ritual slaughter knife - illustration Photo: Photo by Kobi Gideon / Flash90

The Greek Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday that the practice of slaughter is contrary to EU law. The ruling in Greece came following a ruling by the European Court of Justice last December. According to this ruling, EU countries may prohibit kosher slaughter in order to promote animal welfare, without infringing on the rights of religious groups.

The December ruling stated that the EU Animal Slaughter Regulation does not prevent member states from imposing an obligation to stun animals before they are slaughtered in religious slaughter. At the same time, the ruling of the European Court of Justice encouraged the member states to find the balance between the two issues. It is now clear that a number of member states are zealously implementing the former while ignoring the latter.

Upon learning of the ruling of the court in Greece, the chairman of the European Jewish Association (EJA), Rabbi Menachem Margolin, stated:

“As early as last December we warned about the dangerous consequences of the European Court of Justice ruling. And now we see the result. Jewish religious freedom is under direct attack. It started in Belgium, moved to Poland and Cyprus and now it’s Greece’s turn. These direct attacks come from many of the very governments and institutions that have sworn to protect their Jewish communities.”

Rabbi Margolin added:

“What we are witnessing is first-rate hypocrisy. When it comes to anti-Semitism, governments and institutions stand behind us and rightly so. But when our faith and practice are attacked right and left by laws, they are nowhere to be heard! We will act immediately to demand answers from the highest levels the Greek government to the simple but basic question: How can Jews live in Europe if you continue to legislate against us? “

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