April 14, 2024
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New Law Allows Israeli Hospitals To Ban Chametz During Passover

(JNS) The Knesset plenum on Tuesday, March 28 passed into law a bill to allow hospitals to ban chametz during Pesach.

Forty-eight Knesset members voted in favor and 43 voted against the proposal that is intended to reverse a Supreme Court ruling from April 2020 according to which hospitals could not enforce a similar law.

The haredi United Torah Judaism Party sponsored the bill that grants hospital administrators the flexibility to determine “the special arrangements” needed to ensure that patients can keep kosher for Passover.

According to the law, chametz instructions as determined by hospital managers will be published on the hospital website and signs will be posted in the facility. Employees will also be informed of the religious instructions.

A related law was in place for more than three decades until it was struck down by the Supreme Court, sitting as the High Court of Justice, in 2022 when it ruled on a petition by a secular group that hospitals could not require security guards to search visitor’s bags for chametz during the holiday.

“The restrictions prevent patients from eating what they choose in their personal space and violate their right to dignity, autonomy and religious freedom that they are supposed to enjoy in a democratic country,” the justices wrote.

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