The British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has warned of an “exodus” of Jews from Northern Ireland due to possible problems over access to kosher food due to the Brexit trade agreement he signed with the European Union, which entered into force earlier this year. viti. There are between 50 and 100 Jews in the Jewish community of Belfast, the only one in Northern Ireland.

Under the trade agreement secured following the UK withdrawal from the EU, Northern Ireland, part of the UK, will remain within the EU single market for goods and services so as not to create a strong border with the Republic of Ireland, an EU member that would threaten the Good Friday Agreement that brought peace to Northern Ireland in 1998.

This means, however, that a trade border has been established in the Irish Sea between the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, where goods coming from the UK are subject to various controls and delays.

The good subject of such controls includes chilled meat, including hive meat, while other restrictions on other hive food supplies will take effect in September.

“Just yesterday there were very serious representations from the Jewish community in Northern Ireland who pointed out that due to the problem with the food sector it was becoming difficult for them to have timely access, or any access, to food anymore. good, “Johnson told the House of Commons Liaison Committee Wednesday.

“They are now talking about an exodus from Northern Ireland by the Jewish community,” he continued.

“We want to do everything we can to avoid it and solve it,” he added, implying that the EU needed to show more flexibility to address the problem. “Johnson has relinquished customs controls between the UK continent and Northern Ireland, even though they are an integral part of the Brexit trade agreement he agreed and signed with the EU so as not to violate the Good Friday Agreement.

Michael Black, chairman of the Belfast Jewish community, said the problem would be the need for regulatory alignment, voluminous documents and inspections and for such imports, including veterinary inspections for raw meat to ensure it meets EU standards and for check the source and origin of such products.

These requirements that would make it unfeasible for importers to deal with small quantities of kosher food required by the Belfast community, he said.

Neither the Belfast community nor the Jewish community in the Republic of Ireland has a ritual slaughterhouse which means all meat and poultry must be imported.

Black said imports from Europe would be too expensive.

He said implying not having access to kosher meat as well as other dry kosher goods would make it extremely difficult to attract and retain a rabbi who, in the small community, is critical to performing prayer services and performing of common life.

Black said, however, that he was confident a solution would be found and commended local religious leaders, including local churches, as well as the UK’s Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis and the Board of British Jewish MPs for their work and support on this. issues.

On Tuesday, the Chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom Ephraim Mirvis, together with the local Jewish leaders Reverend David Kale and Michael Black of the Jewish Community of Belfast and together with the President of the Board of Deputies Marie van der Zyl, met with the Secretary of State of Ireland North Brandon Lewis of the British government to discuss the problem

The leaders said they tried to “urge the Government to take action to avoid the Northern Ireland Protocol that potentially ended Jewish life in Belfast”, according to a statement from the British Jewish House of Representatives, a representative body for the UK Jewish community. .

“The supply of kosher food from the UK to Northern Ireland has continued with interim arrangements, but, according to the Northern Ireland Protocol, this will end in September,” the board said.

“Once kosher food and religious artifacts can not be provided, the community is likely to collapse,” he added.

The board said the Northern Ireland minister “promised his support”, as well as that of Johnson and the government’s chief negotiator for the EU, Lord Frost, on the issue.

“The Jewish community of Belfast is an excellent community with a rich history, but also an elderly and vulnerable one,” van der Zyl said.

“We thank the Minister for his time and urge the UK and the EU to generate a creative solution that means Jews can continue to practice their faith in Northern Ireland.”