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Brexit could mean cheaper kosher meat, report says

Analysis of potential outcomes for British Jews following UK's departure from the EU also warns of threat to Jewish organisations if immigration from the continent is curbed

    The cover of the joint JLC-Board of Deputies report
    The cover of the joint JLC-Board of Deputies report

    Kosher meat prices in Britain could fall as a result of Brexit, a report compiled by leading communal organisations has claimed.

    The most wide-ranging analysis so far conducted on the potential outcomes for British Jews following this country’s departure from the European Union also warns of a threat to Jewish organisations if immigration from the continent is curbed, with specific concerns about the number of available security guards and social care staff.

    There is a further warning that Brexit could leave Britain needing to re-draw its proscription lists and reassess financial sanctions on terrorist groups such as Hamas.

    The document – called Brexit and the Jewish Community – has been compiled by the Board of Deputies and Jewish Leadership Council and is due to be published on Monday.

    An event organised by the two groups in Parliament that evening will feature Daniel Hannan, the Conservative MEP, and Lord Adonis, the Labour peer and former education minister.

    A copy of the report seen by the JC outlines the potential for Brexit to have a “dramatic” impact on British Jews.

    Focusing on key areas including security, trade with Israel and the provision of kosher meat, it concludes with a plea to the government to “listen to the Jewish community to help ensure as successful a post-Brexit era as possible for all UK citizens”.

    One key passage in the 14-page paper claims: “The tightening of immigration from Europe may affect the costs for Jewish communal services that hire European employees, including security for Jewish buildings, culturally-sensitive social care and kosher food.

    “It may make travel to and work in the UK more difficult for Israelis that currently hold European passports. Meanwhile, a post-Brexit liberalisation of the meat trade could also reduce kosher meat prices.”

    The report contains no specific details of how new trade deals with European nations, or other countries, would affect the cost of kosher meat.

    On religious slaughter, EU regulations call for animals to be mechanically stunned before slaughter but provide a loophole for member states to make exceptions for shechita and the Muslim dhabihah process.

    The Board and JLC call on the government to stand by the exemption when Britain leaves Europe and to ensure the continuation of religious freedoms in slaughter.

    The potential fallout for security issues is clearer. The current British list of financially-sanctioned terror groups does not tally with the EU’s own list, meaning that after leaving Europe, the Treasury would need to take targeted action against the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), Hamas’s political wing, and the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade.

    “The Jewish community would want to see these terror groups continue to be targeted by financial sanctions after Brexit – anything else endangers its security,” the report states.

    “This can be ensured by the Treasury as part of an agreement with the EU to always include terrorist organisations on the EU list on the UK list.”

    Efforts have already been made to ensure continuing improvement in British trade with Israel. It is currently at record levels and was worth £6.9 billion last year.

    A joint working group set up in March 2017 is discussing trade relations, but the report calls specifically for Britain to commit to liberalisation, free movement of capital, continued science and technology co-operation and reduced tariffs on agricultural goods.

    The paper acknowledges: “Members of the community, as all citizens do, face the prospect of being dramatically affected by Brexit. Most of those changes will affect them as citizens of this country, rather than as Jews.”

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