The lawsuit claims ‘Mishkan Techeiles’, the largest tzitzis and tallis company in the world, claims to be mehadrin as all its tzitzis and tying are done by “avreichim Yiras Shomayim”. In addition, the lawsuit cites that Shulchan Aruch pasuls tzitzis tied by a non-Jew. Millions of Jews worldwide use Mishkan Techeiles tzitzis daily, relying on its claim, never thinking for a moment that the tying of the tzitzis is actually done by goyim.
“This is a gross, gross, dishonest, and immoral misrepresentation of all consumers who bought the tallitot and tzitzis produced and marketed by the respondent,” wrote a petition filed in the Tel Aviv District Court by attorney Yochi Geva on behalf of Yom Tov Cohen.
The petitioner is a chareidi man who over the years has served a prison term. He says he was shocked to discover that the “Mishkan Techeiles” company uses many non-Jewish prisoners to tie the tzitzis, “in fact hiding it from its customers.” The petition also included an affidavit by Jiyad Abdalla, a prisoner who used to do the tzitzis and an affidavit by Abd al-Rahman as well.
The plaintiff requested the court to approve the claim as a class action and to award compensation in the amount of 100 million shekels or another figure which the court will determine.
On Monday (the eve of Tisha B’Av), the court sent the statement of claim to the Mishkan Techeiles company, which must respond within 90 days. A pre-trial hearing was held before Judge Yechezkel Keiner in February 2018.
Shlomo Avrahami, the founder of the “Mishkan Techeiles” factory, responds to the grave claims and says unequivocally that “there is no tallis that leaves the factory – without a hechsher.” In a conversation with Bechadrei Haredim, Shlomo says that “this claim is fundamentally baseless, and all our tzitzis are tied under different hechsherim including Eida Chareidis, Beis Yosef, Rav Wosner, Rabbanut Tel Aviv, and Rabbi Aryeh Levine is responsible for the kashrus and nothing leaves the factory for sale without a hechsher”.
He acknowledges that prisoners are used as is the case with other tzitzis companies, but they in no way are involved in tying, but rather packaging. He insists the company will prove this in court.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)