The Laniado Medical Center is banning visitors from bringing in food products that are not kosher for Passover during the holiday, despite a ruling by the High Court of Justice outlawing such bans, according to Channel 12 news.
Footage published by Channel 12 showed a guard at the entrance to the hospital confiscating chametz – leavened grain-based food that is not kosher for Passover – from visitors.
Last year, the High Court of Justice ruled that hospitals cannot ban patients, visitors and others from entering with food products that are not kosher for Passover during the holiday.
Jewish law strictly prohibits the consumption of leavened food for the seven days of the Passover holiday, and cooking and serving utensils used with such food must not be used during Passover.
The guards at the hospital told Channel 12 reporters who tried to enter the hospital with chametz that "the High Court is not valid at Laniado because it is a haredi hospital." The guards hand out stickers to visitors who bring chametz so that they can pick it up when they leave, according to the report.
Other hospitals, including Rambam Medical Center and Hadassah-University Medical Center, are following the High Court ruling and not confiscating food products, according to Channel 12.
A mother who had recently given birth told Channel 12 that her friends had attempted to bring her vegetarian sushi three days before the first night of Passover, but, when she tried to bring it inside the hospital, the guards refused to allow her in and she was forced to give up the meal.
A medical staff member at Laniado told Channel 12 that they're not allowed to enter without being inspected and that guards used "high tones and threats" and photographed employee tags if they resisted inspection.
In last year’s ruling, the High Court ruled that the ban on chametz and the orders to search those entering hospitals was taken without authority, and noted that the petition it was accepting related only to bringing food into patients’ rooms and not into hospital cafeterias.
In a majority ruling, judges Uzi Vogelman and Ofer Grosskopf wrote that the ban harms the fundamental rights for the autonomy of the individual and freedom of religion.
They wrote that it also harms the dignity of patients and their right to self-determination and the exercise of their own choices and preferences.
"Despite it's ultra-Orthodox management, Laniado is a hospital that serves a large and diverse population, so it is amazing that it allows itself to ignore High Court rulings and continue to abuse it's secular and non-Jewish patients during the holiday," said the Secular Forum in response after sending a letter to the hospital that remained unanswered, according to Channel 12.
"The High Court ruling that allows the introduction of any external food into the hospital and prohibits the search for food on the visitors was unequivocal and Laniado Hospital must respect and obey it, as all hospitals in the country did," added the Forum.Jeremy Sharon contributed to this report.