Photo Credit: Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90
MK Moshe Gafni, Chairman of the Knesset Finance Committee, December 6, 2022.

UTJ MK Moshe Gafni’s Chametz Law was approved by the Knesset plenum in a preliminary reading on Wednesday, but after that, it is expected to undergo a significant softening, Israeli media reported.

The new law is a de facto override of a High Court of Justice ruling from three years ago, that public hospitals’ security guards cannot prevent the introduction of Chametz on the premises during Passover. Gafni’s bill seeks to return the situation to the way it was before the ruling, stating that for medical facilities to present themselves as kosher, they must forbid bringing in Chametz on Passover.


The halachic rationale behind the bill is that, unlike non-kosher food, which can be present in the environment without impacting Jews, the prohibition on Chametz has no prescribed limits, meaning that its very presence in the hospital’s environment makes it not kosher on Passover. Gafni explained the need to anchor this in law by arguing that many religious Jews would opt to avoid seeking treatment in a hospital that cannot guarantee the complete absence of Chametz over the seven days of the holiday.

Recent reports have suggested that once the bill is passed in a first reading and sent to committee for amendments, Gafni would be amenable to allowing public hospital managers to use their judgment in enforcing it, on the assumption that they would not want to repel their Haredi patients on Passover.

Labor MK Gilad Kariv, who also happens to lead the Reform movement in Israel, on Wednesday told Reshet Bet Radio regarding the Chametz bill: “It never occurred to me that in a Jewish and democratic country, the law would be used to impose Jewish norms.”

Seriously? Using the law to enforce halachic rules has been an essential component of Israeli society since the country switched its official calendar and bank holidays to the Hebrew system. Basic Law: Israel as the Nation-State of the Jewish People clearly states: “The Sabbath and the festivals of Israel are the established days of rest in the state.” Is that enough of an imposed Jewish norm for you? And if the festivals of Israel are mandated by law, doesn’t it follow that the Jewish norms associated with them be the law?

Kariv also complained that the softened version of the bill, leaving it up to the judgment of hospital managers, would turn every such manager into a “halachic posek.”

Yes, it would, much as every Jew is required to rule for himself or herself on halachic issues, unless they can’t, in which case the managers in question can turn to the hospital’s rabbi.

We have one in every public hospital, MK Kariv.


Previous articlePension Funds Moved NIS 14 Billion of their Clients’ Savings Out of Israel
Next articleWord Prompt – GOLD
David writes news at