Abolishing Chametz Law to be Meretz’s first bill in the 21st Knesset

“Israel is not a state run by Jewish law,” Zandberg said. “The Chametz Law has no justification in a democratic country.”

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April 23, 2019 19:56
1 minute read.
Tamar Zandberg

Tamar Zandberg. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

 
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Meretz leader Tamar Zandberg plans to submit a bill to cancel the law against selling leavened bread on Passover immediately after the inauguration of the 21st Knesset on April 30, she said Tuesday.

“Israel is not a state run by Jewish law,” Zandberg said. “The Hametz Law has no justification in a democratic country.”

The law nicknamed the Hametz Law states that businesses may not sell leavened bread products on Passover, when it is prohibited to eat or own such foods. The law elaborates that this includes “bread, rolls, pita or any other product of hametz flour.” The penalty for violating the law is a fine. It does not apply in towns or neighborhoods in which most residents are not Jewish.

Zandberg argued that, because the law was passed in 1986, it is not part of what is known as the “status quo” between religion and state in Israel.


“Whoever wants to avoid buying or eating hametz can do so, but it should not be a demand in the law,” she said. “That is not what laws are meant for in Israel. Whoever wanted to avoid eating hametz on Passover did so successfully even before the law was passed in 1986 and can do so after it’s canceled.

Zandberg added: “The decision whether to eat hametz is personal and there is no place for the legislator to be involved in it by placing limitations and threatening criminal sanctions.”

The Meretz leader proposed canceling the Hametz Law in 2017, but the Knesset rejected her bill.

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