Photo Credit: Hillel Maeir / TPS
Session of the Israeli Supreme Court

Israel’s Supreme Court on Thursday ruled against the long-standing state ban on chametz in hospitals across the Jewish State on Passover in a 2-1 decision handed down in response to petitions submitted by the Adalah organization and The Secular Forum, both funded by the New Israel Fund (NIF).

Justice Neil Hendel was the dissenting opinion in the case.

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Writing for the panel, Justice Uzi Fogelman wrote in his ruling, “I find that the ban on bringing food items to hospitals during Passover that prevents patients from consuming food of their choice in the personal space at their disposal, violates the right to dignity, autonomy, and religious freedom.

“It is precisely in the hospital, where a person loses much of his independence and has to deal with physical difficulties, away from his or her home and familiar lifestyle, that he should be treated with fairness and compassion, and respect as much as possible for his dignity, privacy, humanity, and his basic needs.

“The powers granted by hospital administrations do not include certification to restrict introduction of food into the hospital for kashrut reasons. In addition, using hospital security guards – in any form – for the purpose of enforcing the ban on introducing food into hospitals on Passover exceeds the restrictions set by the Public Security Law,” the justice wrote.

“I will also propose to my colleagues that an absolute injunction be issued instructing hospital security guards to refrain from taking any steps to enforce the Pesach kosher issue, including comments to those arriving at the hospital regarding food and its kashrut,” Fogelman ruled, together with concurring Justice Ofer Grosskopf.

Smotrich Condemns Court Ruling
Transportation Minister Betzalel Smotrich issued a strong statement in response, condemning the ruling, warning that the Supreme Court is continuing to “destroy the principles of the Jewish State.”

Smotrich said the Court is imposing “insane progressive and undemocratic principles” in its rulings, and in general, “seems to be running the state here and making more and more decisions in a way that renders unnecessary the democratic system and the people.

“The question is,” Smotrich said, “when will the people wake up and stop thinking it’s rain.”

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.