Muslim prisoners’ appeal on bread is toast

JERUSALEM (JTA) – Israel’s Supreme Court rejected an appeal by a Muslim prisoner to provide him and his co-religionists in prison with bread during the Passover holiday.

Madab Raik had appealed a district court decision that said the Israel Prisons Service did not need to provide him with fresh bread during Passover. The court announced its decision on Wednesday.

Raik is being held in a mixed Jewish-Arab cell block in a Beersheva prison; only Muslims are in his cell. In prisons with exclusively Arab populations, bread is distributed before the holiday for use during Passover, but not in mixed Arab-Jewish cell blocks.

Supreme Court Justice Elyakim Rubinstein said that bread and other chametz should not be provided in mixed cell blocks for both practical and religious reasons, and that non-Jewish prisoners can privately eat chametz during Passover that is stored in his personal locker, according to Ynet. 

“We believe that this ban, the withholding of bread from the petitioner and others like him, is a violation of his constitutional right, one that is neither proportional nor reasonable," Raik’s attorney, Gilad Barnea, told the Jerusalem Post last week.

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