High Court Rejects Rabbinate’s Request, Allows Chametz in Hospitals on Pesach

YERUSHALAYIM -
A challah bakery in Tzfas. (David Cohen/Flash90, File)

High Court President Justice Esther Hayut on Sunday rejected the Chief Rabbinate’s request to determine that the state can enforce not bringing chametz into hospitals during Pesach. This came after a request for a further hearing, following an order issued by High Court judges last April, which determined that hospitals have the authority to prohibit those entering their gates from bringing in chametz during Pesach.

In a request for a further hearing, the Chief Rabbinate argued that the decision that the ruling would harm the kashrus of the food provided by the hospital. “But as it has been ruled,” Judge Hayut responded, “this concern does not constitute a source of authority for a substantial violation of the fundamental freedoms we have upheld, especially since the prohibition is explicitly based on religious considerations and involves sensitive issues of religion and state, without the legislature giving [its] opinion. ”

Hayut added that “it is to be hoped that the Rabbinate and the Health Ministry will find an appropriate solution that will preserve the rights of all patients as soon as this coming Pesach, so that those who wish to bring in chametz will be able to do so.”

Construction and Housing Minister Rabbi Yaakov Litzman said that “the decision to require the allowing of chametz into hospitals on Pesach is outrageous. This is secular coercion in the public sphere. Over the years we have been able to fight legally against the plans to violate the status quo in government hospitals. We will continue to act in every way to prevent such a fatal violation of the Israeli tradition.”

Shas leader Minister Rabbi Aryeh Deri said that “it is inconceivable that in a Jewish state, hospitals will be required to allow chametz on Pesach.

“Immediately after the election, the Shas faction in the Knesset will demand the promotion of the Patient Rights Bill as I instructed MK Moshe Arbel to submit in the 23rd Knesset, which seeks to maintain the status quo and authorize hospital administrators in this matter. After all, a hospital that serves a Jewish population is not similar to a hospital that serves minority populations,” said Rabbi Deri.

MK Rabbi Moshe Gafni said in response to the High Court ruling: “The impudent High Court judges take advantage of the period between one Knesset and another, that the amendment to my law cannot be raised in this matter, and do not consider Jews who do keep kosher who may need to go to the hospital on Pesach. We will strongly demand the Override Clause in order to stop and put order in the unlimited power of the High Court.”