EU regulations making kosher food imports untenable could spark “exodus” from Northern Ireland.
By World Israel News Staff
A Brexit protocol intended to prevent a hard border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland could cause the collapse of the Belfast Jewish community, warned Irish Jewish leaders, joinrf now British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
“Only yesterday there were very serious representations from the Jewish community in Northern Ireland who pointed out that because of the problem with the food sector, it was becoming difficult for them to have timely access, or any access, to kosher food,” Johnson said in the House of Commons Liaison Committee on Wednesday.
“They’re talking now about an exodus from Northern Ireland by the Jewish community,” the Prime Minister added.
Under the terms of Brexit’s Northern Ireland Protocol, although Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom, the territory will remain in the European Union’s single market for goods and services. Goods, including kosher food, traveling between the UK and Northern Ireland will be subjected to new regulations for compliance with EU standards. A grace period delaying the protocol’s regulations comes to an end at the end of September.
The alternative to the protocol would be a hard border of fences and checkpoints between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic. But that would violate the 1988 Good Friday agreement that ended the Irish conflict.
The chairman of the Belfast Jewish community, Michael Black, warned that the costs of the new regulatory requirements would make it impractical for importers to deal in the comparatively small amounts of kosher food needed. Between 50-100 Jews live in Northern Ireland, all in Belfast.
Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis and the Board of Deputies of British Jews have been working with UK officials to find a solution.
“Once kosher food and religious artefacts cannot be supplied, the community is likely to collapse,” said a Board of Deputies statement.
The Northern Ireland Protocol impacts non-kosher food as well. British-EU bickering over the protocol and its implementation has been dubbed “The Sausage War.”