Hametz is covered at a store in Israel .
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
The law prohibiting the sale of bread products in Israel during the days of Passover should be annulled, says Meretz MK Tamar Zandberg.
The lawmaker intends to submit a bill when the holiday is out that will cancel the Hag Hamatzot Law from 1986, which prohibits shop owners from selling or presenting “hametz products” which contain bread or flour.
“Israel is not a Halacha [Jewish religious law] state,” said Zandberg in a statement.
“Whoever is interested in refraining from buying or eating hametz can do so, but this should not by required by means of legislation.
That is not the purpose of the law in the State of Israel.
“Whoever wanted to refrain from eating hametz on Passover was able to do so even before the law was passed in 1986, and will be able to do so also after it will be canceled,” she added.
Zandberg then stressed that this was never a part of the “status quo” arrangements in the 1950s between the secular political parties and the haredi parties.
“What happened was that this law became meaningless, and in the past several years there has been an attempt to revive it, as part of a religious radicalization process that a minority group in Israeli society is trying to dictate,” she said.
“In fact, this law is 100% religious coercion. It was legislated amid a struggle over control and power [between political parties] and not in order to regulate a Jewish tradition.
“The decision whether to eat hametz or not is personal, and there is no room for the legislator to interfere in it by imposing restrictions and threatening criminal sanctions.”
In response, MK Yoav Ben- Tzur (Shas) called Zandberg’s initiative dangerous and “yet another attempt to harm the Jewish character of the State of Israel, the status quo and the unifying common denominator of the entire people of Israel.
“I am saddened that MK Zandberg and those few others like her in their attitudes are so easily willing to harm the Jewish character [of the state],” he said.
“I am certain that the only intention [Zandberg had] here was to create a provocation and a public argument during the holiday period.
The members of the Shas faction and I will not allow such hallucinatory bills to pass in the Knesset plenum,” he added. “We will make sure that they remain meaningless declarations.”