Israeli Hospitals to reserve 'Chametz only' zones?

Gov't broaches compromise after policy of forbidding Chametz in hospitals on Passover became a hot-button issue.

JTA, Tzvi Lev,

Haemek Hospital, Afula
Haemek Hospital, Afula
Flash 90

Israel's Deputy Attorney General Raz Nizri has suggested that hospitals reserve a special area in hospitals where Chametz may be consumed on Passover, Ma'ariv reports.

Chametz is not allowed to be eaten, sold, or even seen during the Pesach holiday. In order to accommodate religious patients, hospitals traditionally banned Chametz from the premises.

Nizri's seeks to find a compromise between the traditional policy of outlawing the entry of leavened bread into hospitals on Passover while appeasing anti-religious activists such as the Secular Forum.

According to the proposal, hospitals will reserve a special section in which citizens can bring all types of food. Bringing the food into the other parts of the hospital will be forbidden and the hospitals will switch to using disposable cutlery during the Passover holiday in order to avoid running afoul of Kosher dietary laws.

Nizri's proposal comes after the Secular Forum NGO challenged the Chief Rabbinate guidelines, as well as the Health Ministry which backs the request, in a petition to Israel’s Supreme Court in March.

The Health Ministry does not obligate hospitals to follow this policy, however. Hospitals have been reluctant to flout the rabbinate’s request out of fear that they would lose their kashrut certification.

In previous years, signs placed at the hospitals asked those entering to refrain from bringing in leavened products. Guests were asked to leave such products at the front desk and pick them up on their way out.


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