Barry K wrote:I am pleased that you have changed your stance. It is unfortunate that perhaps the strongest opposition to Kosher status is from our own people.
My stance has never been against either things that are kosher or the need by a certain segment of the population for kashrut. My earlier point of view was based on my hope that growth of the Israeli wine industry would come about as better wines would be accepted on a broad niche scale as "Mediterranean wines of quality and interest" and not on the basis of kashrut. At least so far that acceptance has not come about in a major way so it has become logical for small wineries to appeal to that growing portion of the Jewish market that is indeed concerned not only with kashrut but with quality.
Indeed some wineries produce kosher wines because the owners themselves are observant. Those wineries are in a distinct minority however, and for the most part the decision to "go kosher" is entirely business oriented.
I do not agree with your hypothesis that there is any serious objection to the production and consumption of kosher food products on the part of very many "of our own people". I believe whatever objections are found are related to the perceptions (be they accurate or be they not accurate) that in two major ways
(a) Kashrut, especially within Israel, imposes on the convenience and desires of those Jews who do not keep kosher and
(b) Kashrut certificiation is too often related to cash flow and "power games" on the part of some certifying bodies.
I offer only two examples of those and please note that neither of these examples is anti-Jewish or anti-religious. The issue here is kashrut and neither religious belief or practice. First, for an Israeli supermarket to be kosher it can carry no non-kosher items whatsoever. That is not true in any other country in the world but here is strictly enforced.
Second - certainly not all but far too many mashgichim
(kashrut supervisers) are too much like those union shop stewards who are on the payroll but do nothing productive. With regard to this please let me state loudly and clearly that a good number of the mashgichim
are indeed dedicated workers and valued members of the team at the wineries that employ them. The problem is the fairly large number who are little more than parasites and cannot be fired because they have protektzia
(self defining, I believe) with the powers that be.
Perhaps to demonstrate that as many feelings as there may be, there is no overall bias. I know of no Israeli, for example, who has objected to the fact that all kitchens and dining rooms of Tsahal
(the Israeli Defense Forces), cafeterias in government buildings, hospitals and other public buildings must be kosher. Nor do I know of any Israeli who has ever objected to a food product on the basis that it is kosher.
Whatever, for those who do keep kashrut, I share your pleasure in that the wines of an increasing number of the wines from the better boutique wineries in the country will now be available to you. Thinking of a good many very old jokes, indeed "it will be good for the Jews". Whether in the end it will be good for the wineries is something we can hope for but will have to wait five to ten years before we know the final answers.