Israel secular group petitions High Court after pregnant woman denied hospital access over 'non-Kosher wafers'

Israel secular group petitions High Court after pregnant woman denied hospital access over 'non-Kosher wafers'
Israel recently passed a law that allows hospitals to ban non-Kosher products during Ramadan.
2 min read
06 April, 2023
Israeli hospitals can ban non-Kosher products from entering during the Sabbath [Getty]

An Israeli secular group has petitioned the country's High Court after a pregnant woman was denied access to a hospital for carrying non-Kosher products, media have reported.

Head of Be Free Israel has called for the court to overturn the so-called Hametz Law, which has seen patients searched for non-kosher food, such as leavened bread, upon entering hospitals during Passover, according to Israeli media reports.

The group said that the so-called Hametz Law violates the rights of patients not to be searched at hospitals.

"This is a violation of the right to property and freedom of movement… The state should not interfere in a person's customs and it does not give an individual the right to impose his religious beliefs on others," lawyers from the group said, according to The Times of Israel.

Live Story

The Knesset passed the 'Hametz Law' on 27 March by 48 votes to 43, allowing Israeli hospitals to ban patients from bringing in non-kosher leavened bread products - such as rolls and sandwiches - during the Jewish holiday.

The law was proposed by the Haredi religious Shas Party, part of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's hard-right government.

The court challenge comes after a "high-risk" pregnant woman was told by a guard at the Laniado Medical Center on Sunday to leave cookies at the hospital reception as they were not kosher

"I'm a pregnant woman," she told Walla News, "but it's not just pregnant women. Everyone who spends a few hours or more [in the hospital] wants to eat the food they bring with them. It's outrageous. It's the only hospital in Netanya, it's not like there are other options."

Israel has the most far-right government in its history with extremists in charge of key political and security positions.

Far-right politician Itamar Ben-Gvir sparked fear among Palestinians when was given the position of National Security Minister, pushing for the establishment of a National Guard under his authority.

Israeli forces have launched a wave of brutal assaults in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, killing at least 95 Palestinians.

They have also launched near-daily raids on Al-Aqsa Mosque during the holy month of Ramadan, attacking Palestinian worshippers.