On Tuesday, the Knesset passed the Hametz Law in its second and final readings, restoring the situation to the way it was before the Supreme Court intervened several years ago, prohibiting hospital directors from hanging signs asking people not to bring hametz onto the premises during Passover.
Passover (Pesach) this year begins next Wednesday at sundown.
48 MKs voted in favor of the law, with 43 opposing. Likud MK Idit Silman submitted the law; for her, it was a "closing of the circle," as the issue of the Hametz Law proved the last straw for her, prompting her resignation from the Bennett-Lapid government when she was still a member of the Yamina party and bringing the government down.
"All that we are doing with this law is protecting the Jewish identity of the State of Israel," Silman said.
Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid said, "Now 16-year-old children will think that it's fun to throw bread rolls into hospitals, and families will stop observing Passover. In the Ethics of the Fathers it says, 'Anyone who causes another person to sin will not be able to repent.' This is what you're doing now, you're making a lot of people sin, now they won't be observing Passover anymore because you're not going to force Judaism on us."
"I have never signed on a law that tells any secular person how to behave," responded MK Moshe Gafni. "This law is superfluous - and you know why? For 72 years, the country was quite happy with the situation in which hospital authorities were responsible for deciding who could bring hametz into hospitals and who couldn't, and it was fine that way - until the Supreme Court jumped up and said: Hospital directors don't have that authority. There was never a problem before then.
"That was three years ago, when the Court decided that a hospital director couldn't hang a sign saying that in the hospital's northern wing, hametz would be allowed, and in the southern wing, there wouldn't be any hametz. Anyone who observed the mitzvot knew that on Pesach, he went to the southern wing. But now we have honorable Knesset members standing here and talking about coercion? Have you gone mad? Where in this law is any mention made of coercion?"