The UTJ party introduced a measure to prohibit Chometz from being served in hospitals during Pesach as another sign that the current administration wants to undo the policies of its predecessor.
Such restrictions were ruled unlawful at hospitals by the High Court in 2020 and army bases by the same court the previous year.
Before Pesach 2022, former health minister Nitzan Horowitz ordered hospitals to follow the court’s decision.
Coalition whip Idit Silman characterized this as a move by the more liberal parties in the government to undermine the “Jewish character” of the state and used it as a justification to quit, ultimately leading to the coalition’s collapse.
The new measure introduced on Monday would make Chometz hospital restrictions legal and necessary, just like before the 2020 court ruling.
The bill stated that no chametz or other food would be permitted in or kept in a medical facility during the Passover season unless it complied with the rules established by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel.
MKs Moshe Gafni, Yaakov Asher, and Yitzchak Pindrus stated in their explanatory notes to the bill that their legislation would not be unduly burdensome for non-Jewish hospital patients because “in light of developments in food technology, there are kosher-for-Passover replacements for all sorts of foods — rolls, cakes, cookies, and candy bars.”
The bill was denounced by opposition MK and former minister of religious affairs Matan Kahana, who claimed it would encourage deliberate efforts to introduce Chametz.
Former Israeli prime minister Yair Lapid claimed that the government’s legislative program was dividing Israeli society and “turning Judaism into religious coercion.”
Similar criticism of the proposal came from the modern orthodox Ne’emanei Torah V’Avoda, which claimed it would “sow enmity” and turn people away from religion.
Jewish law offers several options that do not include prying into patients’ personal belongings, as was once in several hospitals.
The group stated that laws like this that impose religion and meddle in people’s private life “never bring people closer to Judaism, and they are eventually a boomerang that diminishes the Judaism of the state.”