Religion Magazine

Arab Chametz Confiscated at Hospital

By Gldmeier @gldmeier
Israel being a Jewish State can cause problems for people, especially (though not limited to) those who are not members of the Jewish faith.
By its very nature and definition, the qualification of Israel as a Jewish State is discriminatory in nature, to some extent, as those who are not Jewish or do not want to function according to Jewish guidelines (not sure defined by whom) will have their needs placed at a lower level of importance than the needs of the broader Jewish community. Often there is no conflict, and everybody can get what they need and be treated properly, but occasionally there is a conflict and someone is going to have his needs prioritized lower.
Israel is a democracy, and everyone is guaranteed their basic human rights, but as a Jewish State sometimes the "Jewish" takes priority in conflicts of needs.
An example of this is the Arab who was checked at the door of a hospital and his chametz taken away (on Pesach), so as to prevent the chametz from being brought into the hospital in Afula.
source: Walla News
Yes, an Arab is allowed to eat chametz on pesach, and there is no law against it. The hospital is concerned about having chametz on its premises, and therefore banned it during Pesach, even for non-Jews.
The Arab, Said Mehamid, has requested from the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Interior to abolish such rules about no chametz in hospitals on Pesach... and has said that if the ministries do not respond favorably to his demand he will petition the Supreme Court.
How should this be dealt with? I don't know. He has a right to eat chametz. The hospital has a right to not want chametz on its premises, potentially messing things up for the majority of patients and visitors.
Do I have the right to walk into a dairy restaurant with a hamburger in my pocket that I plan to eat there, just because I am lactose intolerant or have an allergy to gluten found in the pasta dishes?
His right to eat chametz is protected, and in his Arab towns it can even be sold, as the law rohibiting the sale of chametz does not apply to towns with a non-Jewish majority. But can he exercise that right everywhere, regardless of his surroundings? I see this as a conflict of his democratic rights with the rules of a Jewish state. He can eat his chametz in his own house or in open areas or in any building where the administrators do not care and allow him to, but a hospital that worked hard to clean for Pesach and wants the premises to be chametz-free for the benefit of the majority of its patients and visitors, it seems the Jewish issue should take priority. I wonder what the Supreme Court will say, if it makes it that far. The dilemma does not seem to be an easily solvable one.
Maybe he should have told the guard that the bread was kitniyot bread, rather than admitting to it being chametz...
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