No kosher food for Jewish prisoners in Norway


Northern Europe


The cleaning of a kosher kitchen is exceptionally critical. The picture has no relation with the story. Photo AFP, Giuseppe Cacace

The Norwegian Minister of Justice, Emilie Enger Mehl, does not give in to the demand for Jewish food in prison.

Two Jewish prisoners had asked for better food facilities following their religious requirements. The Jewish community in Norway even called this a human rights issue. One of the options mentioned was that catering food would have been brought in that just had to be heated in a microwave.

The minister said the prisoners could buy their needs in the prison shop and prepare their meals. Vart Land reports on this.

The Minister says any other policy would “present challenges related to equal treatment and security”, she writes to the Storting, the Norwegian parliament.

Ever since they were extradited from Israel to Norway in 2021, two men have fought for the right to observe the kosher rules. Kosher is the Hebrew term for food that practising Jews can eat.

The families of the two were ready to pay for transport of the catering food from Israel. But Kongsvinger prison, where the two men are now sitting, does not want to open the gate for this.


Minister Mehl has thought about the catering arrangement. She believes that if the two are to be served catering food, then such an offer must include everyone who wants a religiously arranged diet. She thinks that would be discriminatory. An arrangement where inmates or their relatives pay for catering deliveries will “give inmates with resources and good finances advantages that other inmates do not have “.

According to the Minister, the prison has given kitchen equipment to the two to prepare their food. On holidays, they can get special products. If needed, they can speak to the store in the prison to get other products.



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