Chief Rabbinate asked Israeli hospitals to check visitors for chametz. Many will ignore the request.


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Several Israeli hospitals will ignore a request from the Chief Rabbinate to have security guards at their entrances check employees and visitors for chametz, or leavened products, during Passover.

The Secular Forum NGO challenged the Chief Rabbinate guidelines, as well as the Health Ministry, which backs the request, in a petition to the Supreme Court. The Health Ministry does not require the restriction legally, however. Hospitals have been reluctant to flout the rabbinate’s request out of fear that they would lose their kashrut certification.

The court has yet to rule on the petition but on Sunday, the state called the chametz ban a “reasonable restriction.”

Among the hospitals that said they would not physically check for chametz are Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv, Rambam Medical Center in Haifa, Wolfson in Holon, Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon and Shaare Zedek in Jerusalem.

In previous years, signs placed at the hospitals asked those entering to refrain from bringing in leavened products. Guests were asked to leave such products at the front desk and pick them up on their way out.

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