Prohibition of Shechita in Norway May Be Lifted

There is a possibility of the prohibition of Shechita in Norway which went into effect in the New Year, being lifted, Aaron Gruzd, a leading Jewish communal worker in Norway, President of the Norwegian Keren Hayesod and leader of the Jewish Youth Federation in Norway, who is now on a visit to Latvia, has told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency representative here.

The question has come up, he said, in connection with the export of pigs to England. The buyers insist that the pigs must be slaughtered by incision and not by stunning, and the leaders of the Jewish Community intend if this is agreed to, as they expect it will be, to demand that Shechita should again be permitted.

SHECHITA EXCEPTION ASKED

When the prohibition of Shechita was decided on by the Norwegian Parliament, the Prime Minister, M. Mowinckel, speaking in the debate, said that he was of the opinion that the law should contain provisions for the exemption of Shechita. The arguments brought forward against Shechita had not convinced him that it was a cruel method of slaughtering. So far as he was concerned, the decisive argument was that they must have consideration for the religious feeling of the Jews, and not prevent them because of their faith from being able to eat meat. He urged Parliament, therefore, not to prohibit Shechita, particularly since all over the country methods of slaughtering were being employed which could not be described as commendable.

The leader of the Conservative Party, Deputy Lykke, a former Prime Minister, also spoke in the debate in favor of the exemption of Shechita.

It is certain, therefore, that there is a strong body of important opinion in the country which would support any effort to lift the present ban on Shechita.

SMALL JEWISH COMMUNITY

The Jewish community in Norway, according to the late Lucien Wolf’s memorandum, is one of the smallest in Europe. The last religious census, in 1920, showed that it numbered only 1,457. Since then it has not very appreciably increased. Previous to 1851 there were no Jews in the country, owing to an old law forbidding their entry, which was reaffirmed in 1814 when Norway was united to Sweden.

The repeal of this law was not due to any overtures made by the would be Jewish immigrants, but by a manifestation of public indignation against it, set in motion by the poet, Henrik Wergeland. Until four years ago this small community had no history. When the doors were opened to them in 1851 no conditions were imposed, and they found themselves in the enjoyment of all the civil and political rights extended by the Constitution to friendly foreigners, and eventually to native-born Norwegians. They proved a modest, industrious and inoffensive element in the population, and at no time came in conflict with national sentiment.

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