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Israel bans patients bringing non-kosher bread into hospitals during Passover

A Palestinian man receives medical care at the Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City on 16 April 2017 [Ashraf Amra/Apaimages]
A man receives medical care on 16 April 2017 [Ashraf Amra/Apaimages]

A legal rights centre is set to challenge an Israeli government ban that prevents Palestinian citizens “from bringing leavened bread products into hospitals during the Jewish holiday of Passover”.

Adalah – The Legal Centre for Arab Minority Rights in Israel “filed a petition to the Israeli Supreme Court on 27 February 2018 against the Health Ministry’s ban on bringing leavened bread products into hospitals or eating bread in hospitals for the duration of the holiday.”

This policy, the organisation explains, “has been enforced in hospitals nationwide over the past several years”, and compels all individuals to “undergo strict searches at hospital entrances”. Any leavened bread products found “are confiscated or destroyed”.

There have also been instances where “individuals who refused to hand over their bread products to security guards were prevented from entering hospitals and visiting admitted family members”.

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In the petition, Adalah Attorney Sawsan Zaher wrote that “there is no law in the State of Israel that prevents citizens from bringing leavened foods into hospitals and there is no law in the State of Israel that prevents them from bringing non-kosher food for their hospitalised relatives to eat.”

“The aggressive intervention of public authorities in private decisions regarding what to eat and where – particularly when an individual is in a vulnerable situation as is the case with hospitalised patients or visiting family members – is a violation of human liberty and personal dignity,” she added.

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