The bread wars are not over yet. MK Avraham Ravitz (United Torah Judaism) on Monday proposed an amendment to the Passover Bread Ban Act, whereby the word ‘publicly’ will be dropped from this legislation, effectively generating a categorical ban on the sale of bread and leavened foods throughout Israel during the Passover holiday.
The MK wrote a letter to Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik Monday, urging her to call a special Knesset session in order to deliberate the proposed amendment before the upcoming Passover holiday.
MK Ravitz stated that “the (ruling) judge’s interpretation of the Bread Ban Act was far too convoluted and subjective. I have spoken to numerous rabbis and they are all baffled by this ruling and see it as yet another attempt by the justice system to erode the religious lifestyle in Israel,” he said.
Four additional political parties have also petitioned the for an emergency session during the Knesset hiatus in order to deliberate the Jerusalem Municipal court ruling that has effectively permitted the sale of bread and leavened foods on Passover.
The four parties in question are United Torah Judaism,
the National Union-National Religious Party
and the Likud.
Typically, a petition by 25 Mks is needed in order to call an emergency Knesset session during its hiatus. The Knesset Speaker has not decided as of yet when this session will take place.
A controversial new ruling issued by the Jerusalem Municipal Court last Thursday determined that grocery stores, pizza parlors, and restaurants are not ‘public domains’ by legal definition and thus are allowed to sell bread and leavened goods on Passover. The court had reversed four indictments against Jerusalem business owners who were convicted of violating the Passover Bread Ban Act.
Religious parties have already begun to vehemently protest this ruling. Minister of Religious Affairs Yitzhak Cohen has likened the court’s decision to “a loaded gun pressed to the temple of the Jewish people.”
The minister stated that “the law and the halacha both maintain that it is strictly forbidden to sell leavened foods on Passover, and the court ought to stick to doing what it does best instead of offering dubious interpretations of Jewish law. The justice who made this ruling ought to be tossed out just like we do to bread and leavened foods before Passover.”
Cohen stated that he “will appeal the court’s decision, and if an Israeli court
can’t see the value of a Passover bread ban, perhaps the International Court in the Hague will.”
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert also
addressed the court’s court’s ruling and attempted to cool tempers somewhat by stating that “the court’s decision should not turn into a cultural war.
"All of Israel’s citizens need to live together in peace,” he said.
Amnon Meranda has contributed to this article