Settler donates hametz to Palestinians

Instead of using religious loophole to avoid getting rid of food, Avinoam Magen gives it to the needy.

bread 88 (photo credit: )
bread 88
(photo credit: )
Avinoam Magen isn't sealing off his hametz this year. Nor is he is burning or trashing it. Instead he's using the Pessah holiday to make a statement about coexistence. A resident of the Ofarim settlement, he asked Nauaf Khalaf, an acquaintance from the neighboring Palestinian village of Rantis, to help him distribute food to families in need. The idea came to him on Shabbat while he was telling his in-laws that selling hametz was a legal fiction designed to evade the requirement to get rid of it all together. "Instead of playing this game, I thought, 'Why not give it to people in need,'" said Magen, who is a member of the Ofarim-Beit Aryeh Municipal Council. Since religious law prohibits any Jew from owning Hametz during the holiday, Magen's thoughts went to his neighbors. Magen, who is a member of the Labor Party and a spokesman for the Histadrut labor federation, said he wanted to counter the stereotype of settlers as people who harm Palestinians by doing things such as chopping down their olive trees. "If there are children who are starving we should help them," he said. Khalaf, who worked building Magen's home, said he wasn't surprised to receive such a call from Magen, who has often helped him and others in Rantis. Khalef said he would give the food to needy village families. "I am for peace. It's good not to fight," he said.