Israelis who plan not to eat chametz (leavened food) throughout the Passover holiday are receiving surprising support from Arab Knesset members.
The lawmakers have launched a campaign urging the Arab public to avoid selling pita bread and other leavened products at main intersections and other public areas, within and outside Jewish cities, so as not to offend Jews traveling across the country during the holiday.
The initiative is being led by Deputy Knesset Speaker Raleb Majadele (Labor), who accepted an appeal from the Lobby for Jewish Values and plans to call on the Arab public, through Muslim clerics, to lower its profile throughout the Jewish holiday in terms of selling chametz.
"In order for Jews to respect our holidays, we must know how to respect their tradition and holidays," says MK Majadele. "I asked the religious leaders to join the call in order to avoid hurting the Jewish public's feelings, as long as this move is based on reciprocity."
In return, the Arab lawmakers are asking the Jewish public to honor their holidays, for example the month of Ramadan, during which they fast every day.
MK Ibrahim Sarsur (United Arab List-Ta'al) said he would work to promote the idea on the Arab media.
"I am in favor of respecting the public's feelings, especially when it comes to religious issues," he explained. "I plan to appeal to the Arab public in an orderly manner and publish ads in Arabic-language newspapers and radio stations. The goal is not to sell chametz in public places where the majority of the public is Jewish."
Sarsur added that "although there are Jews who are not strict about it, and even visit Arab villages in search of chametz, it's important that we make sure not to hurt the feelings of the majority of the public, which does not look for chametz during the holidays.
"Just like we expect others to respect us, we must respect others at all costs," he concluded.
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