The deputy mayor of Haifa, Shai Blumenthal, has invited residents of the city to use the non-emergency police hotline to report illegal sales of chametz – leavened bread products – over the Passover holiday.
In recent years chametz has increasingly been sold in public during Passover in Haifa, despite a nationwide law prohibiting the public display of bread products during the holiday in majority-Jewish areas.
“If people are found to be selling chametz illegally, they will get fines and be summoned to court,” Blumenthal said.
However, he noted, bakeries and stores in primarily non-Jewish neighborhoods are allowed to continue to display chametz openly during the holiday. “Because Haifa is a mixed city of Jews and non-Jews, there are neighborhoods where chametz sales are allowed,” he said.
Municipal workers have already toured the city and determined where chametz may and may not be sold, he added.
A survey conducted last year found that most Israelis support the “chametz law.” The law prohibits only the outside display of bread products, while allowing stores to continue to sell bread inside.
A yeshiva student made headlines in 2008 and again in 2009 for stripping off his clothes in protest of the legal definition of stores as private space in which chametz may be sold.