Esther Hayut
Esther Hayut Photo by Oren Ben Hakoon/POOL

Supreme Court Chief Justice Esther Hayut, announced on Sunday her rejection of the Chief Rabbinate's request for another hearing regarding the decision to allow leavened food (chametz) into hospitals on Passover.

The status quo in which chametz is barred from hospitals on Passover was violated some months ago by the original ruling allowing it after the court acceded to anti-religious demands. The Chief Rabbinate argued that an additional hearing was needed to fully present its case, but Justice Hayut today ruled that she was rejecting the appeal and that the original verdict is legitimate.

This provoked a wave of anger from the haredi parties, with Shas chairman Minister Aryeh Deri writing, "It is inconceivable that in a Jewish state, hospitals will be obliged to introduce chametz on Passover. The Shas Party's first action after the elections will be to promote the Patient Rights Bill of 2020, which I instructed MK Moshe Arbel to submit in the 23rd Knesset. This proposal seeks to maintain the status quo and authorize hospital administrators to decide this matter since a hospital that serves a Jewish population cannot be governed by the same rules שדa hospital that serves other demographics."

Minister Yaakov Litzman responded: "The decision to oblige hospitals to admit chametz on Passover is outrageous and defiant, and is nothing less than forced public secularism after all the years we have spent fighting attempts to break the status quo."

MK Moshe Gafni of United Torah Judaism added, "The Supreme Court is insolently taking advantage of the lack of a government when it is impossible to legislate any amendment to a law. They do not consider the needs of religious Jews who need to observe the laws of Passover. We demand in the strongest of terms that this ruling be overturned and that there be a limit imposed on the Court's power."

Deputy Minister Uri Maklev wrote, "The Supreme Court's ruling comes not from a legal background, but from an alienated worldview of judges that do not represent the majority of Israel. This is a ruling of dense and distanced individuals that harms the Jewish majority of the population, including the patients in the hospitals bound by the ruling in question. The court represents in this matter no opinion but its own.

The chairman of the Knesset's Judicial Committee, MK Yaakov Asher, said, "The lawsuit about chametz is another example of detachment and obstinance of the liberal judges who will force their opinions on the Orthodox majority of the State of Israel. I firmly believe that when these elections are concluded, we will finally have the legislative power to close the loopholes that allow the Supreme Court to rule over the land.

The Deputy Minister of Labor and Welfare, Meshulam Nahari, commented, "The Supreme Court's decision to allow chametz into Israeli hospitals makes painfully clear the need to enshrine in law the facts as they are now, lest the court rule against the realities of a situation. Allowing them to do so is allowing them to undermine the harmony all elements of our population have enjoyed since the founding of Israel. There are those that want to make Israel look like all other nations. They have found no allies in the Knesset or the public, and so have gone to the courts to find a champion for their cause.