MK Tamar Zandberg (Meretz) is planning to submit a bill after the end of the Passover break, nullifying the 1986 Law of the Feast of Matzot (“Chametz law”) which states that during the Passover holiday, “a business owner shall not publicly display a chametz product for sale or consumption,” NRG reported Wednesday.
Chametz is defined by the law as “bread, roll, pita, or any other chametz flour products.” The purpose of the law is “to prevent harm to the public’s feelings.”
This prohibition does not apply to a locality where most of the residents are not Jewish, nor does it apply in a neighborhood where most of the residents are not Jewish, nor in cooperative settlements in which the activity of the business in question is intended solely to provide for local needs.
MK Zandberg has said that the existing law is outdated and no longer justified in a democratic state, meaning that it is no longer part of the political status quo between religious and secular Jews in Israel.
“Israel is not a halachic state,” the MK stated, adding that “anyone who wishes to avoid buying and eating chametz on Passover had done so successfully before the law was enacted in 1986, and would be able to do it after the law is revoked.”
Zandberg noted that the “Chametz law” is “entirely about religious coercion, and was enacted as the result of a power struggle and not as a Jewish custom. The decision regarding eating chametz is personal and there is no place for the legislator to become involved by imposing limits and threatening criminal sanctions.”
The only time anyone was taken to court over violating the Chametz Law was in April 2008. Four restaurant owners in Jerusalem were indicted for selling chametz on Passover. The Judge, Tamar Bar-Asher Tzaban, threw out the case.