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November 7, 2014 1:47 am

Haaretz’s Anti-Religious Math

avatar by Elder of Ziyon

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Haaretz editions in Hebrew and English. Photo: Hmbr via Wikimedia Commons.

Anti-Semites like to pretend that kosher certification is a “kosher tax” that hard-working gentiles have to pay against their will for their food to fund nefarious Jewish and Zionist causes.

Haaretz apparently does, too.

Israeli hotel rooms are among the more expensive in the world, according to various economic indexes. The first reason is that the cost of living in Israel is sky-high, and the hotels pay about the same for cottage cheese and electricity as everyone else. The second reason is that unlike hotels anywhere else, hotels have to be kosher. And being certified kosher is expensive.

The writer then goes through many of the time-consuming kashrut issues, like checking for bugs in leafy vegetables. But these are done by the kosher inspectors, who are paid to be there anyway.

Here are all the costs mentioned in the article:

Aside from the inspector, hotels pay an annual fee for their kashrut stamp of approval. This costs 7,250 shekels (just under $2,000) a year for hotels with more than 250 rooms. Lior Avi, CEO of the Isrotel chain, says the company spends around $3 million shekels a year (some $800,000) on inspectors alone for their 17 hotels, not including the fee.

OK, let’s do the math.

17 hotels paying $800,000 annually comes out to $47,000 per hotel; add the certification fee and we are at about $50,000. If each hotel has 250 rooms, that comes out to $200 per room per year, or, at a low 55% occupancy rate, about a dollar per room per night.

The only other expense mentioned is that the kosher supervisor brings his family on Shabbat and holidays and they get a free room. At most, this adds about another 50 cents per night per room to the hotels expenses.

The additional sets of dishes and cutlery for dairy and meat are not annual expenses, but there is no way they add more than 20 cents more per room per night if they are replaced every five years. The cost of Passover dishes are certainly paid for by the exorbitant increase in hotel fees during that holiday.

So Haaretz is blaming Jewish dietary laws for what would account, at the very most, $2 extra per room per night in hotel expenses.

Now, how much would Israeli hotels lose in business if they decided not to be kosher? A lot more than that.

How is this Haaretz article any different from the anti-Semitic canard of kosher taxes?

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  • steven L

    Haaretz, the flagship of national and international antisemitism!

  • Vivarto

    The important question is:
    Why is there no NON_Kosher competition in restaurants, hotels, etc?

  • citizenstat

    Zack, your comments are cogent and articulate, but here, as in many situations, context is critical. Elder isn’t talking about anything nebulous, as “some ‘kosher tax'” might imply. Rather, it’s a long standing anti-Semitic smear that still has currency – witness the 2014 Quebec elections. Further, the Haaretz article (which as a non-subscriber, I couldn’t read in its entirety) was clearly dismissive if not pejorative in tone – Eight things you never knew Israeli hotels do to be certified kosher, and, Israeli rabbinate’s 168 guidelines of kashrut, … cost a pretty shekel. Haaretz’s articles tend to take this sort of slant, which is their right. Unfortunately, Haaretz is a principal source of Israel news for Western newspapers and wire services that don’t have bureaus there (The Guardian, Reuters, AP, etc.) but do have a decidedly anti-Israel bias in their content, which is mother’s milk to all the haters out there. So, as long as their work remains factual and fair, guys like Elder perform a valuable function whether a certain amount of pique motivates them or not.

  • zack you sort of answered your own proverbial question. if haaretz is constantly anti-israel, at times even anti-semetic, then the tone of this article should be taken like the rest of their publishings. this article was meant to be disparaging against Israel, and therefore should be taken as such in my opinion.

    this same article written by someone thats known to be pro israel would be taken a lot different than the same story being written by an anti-semite…or in this case, haaretz.

    Im also guessing by haaretz’s lack of inclusion that halal isnt any more expensive than non-halal

  • Sam Harris

    Ever wonder why there are few kosher restaurants in NYC,compared to it’s Jewish population? Well we know most Jews are marginally observant if at all,but opening and running a kosher restaurant in the big apple one must contend with the grand shakedown, that is the kosher supervision business.

  • zack

    This article has nothing to do with some “kosher tax” nor does it have to do with anything anti semitic. If you look at the cost of doing business in Israel, it is exorbitantly expensive to have a Kosher establishment. This isn’t a statement of Anti-Semitism, simply stating a fact. If you want to have a Kosher hotel or in fact any establishment that is kosher, restaurant or otherwise it is much more expensive than if you did not. They not only have to hire inspector, (in many cases with a big hotel, they will have more than one), they have to inspect all of the food coming in and out of the hotel, and if it doesnt hold up to standard, it must be replaced, etc.

    Kashrut is an industry that by definition makes the products that are certified as such more expensive, (with the sometimes exception of dry goods) and this is simply a fact. Pointing this out in an article does not an anti-semite make. None of this even hits the point about the food itself, getting kosher meat is much more expensive than non-kosher meat.

    I understand your point regarding Haaretz, but I think it can be explained to simply misplaced anger and their general anti-israel tone. 🙂

    • Chaim

      While not disputing anything that has been said, I note that it is only Kosher and Jewish matters that seem to have a cost with them. The fact that the hotel has to follow strict health rules, follow government standards for contstruction, advertising, Staff wages, health benefits etc etc. is not discussed. The fact that Israeli hotels charge high prices are for many many reasons. The response to the article is pointing out that the “kosher/Jewish” connection is mininal to a $200 hotel room or a $500 per day hotel cost at the King David. since there is competition, there are kosher and non-kosher hotel. An honest or true picture would be to compare these Israeli hotels. And finally, the “Kosher” stamp is cheap advertising. I am taking two rooms for 13 days next week. If the hotel was not kosher, there would be 26 less rooms occupied. Similarly, when I buy products, I buy the Kosher brand such as Heinz bake beans or soup vs Campbell. So, let us be honest in our arguments and not “prejudiced”…Shalom all Yisrael…Chaim….toronto

    • Al Talena

      Zak did not, or can, read the article.