Adalah success: Israeli Supreme Court overturns ban on leavened bread products in Israeli hospitals during Passover

Adalah petitioned against ban in 2018; legitimate need to allow religious Jews to uphold beliefs cannot override fundamental freedoms enjoyed by Arab public, Israeli Jewish secular public, and everyone else.
UPDATE [10 January 2021]: The Israeli Supreme Court rejected a motion filed by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel for an additional hearing on this case.


The Israeli Supreme Court on 30 April 2020 overturned the ban on bringing leavened bread products into Israeli hospitals during the Passover holiday.


Adalah had petitioned the Supreme Court against this ban in February 2018.


The court additionally ruled that the state must pay Adalah 25,000 shekels (~US$7,140) in court expenses.


Adalah Attorney Sawsan Zaher, who lead the legal battle, responded to the Supreme Court decision:


"Today’s Israeli Supreme Court decision brings an end to the degrading practice of humiliating patients, employees, and visitors who do not abide by Jewish dietary laws. We applaud the court ruling that religious laws cannot be imposed on the public and that Israeli hospitals have no authority to demand their security personnel enforce such a ban. The legitimate need to allow religious Jews to uphold their beliefs must not override the fundamental freedoms enjoyed by the Arab public, the Israeli Jewish secular public, and everyone else."


Jewish religious law forbids Jews from consuming leavened bread products during the week-long Passover holiday.


Adalah 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.


According to this policy, which has been enforced in hospitals nationwide over the past several years, all individuals – including non-Jewish Arab citizens – must undergo strict searches at hospital entrances. Any leavened bread products found are confiscated or destroyed. In a number of past cases, individuals who refused to hand over their bread products to security guards were prevented from entering hospitals and visiting admitted family members.


(Photo: Yoninah/Wikimedia Commons)