The Shmooze

Arab Bakers Anticipate a Happy Passover, Thanks to Shas

By Nathan Jeffay

  • Print
  • Share Share

Here in Israel, they say that Passover brings Jews together. Religious and non-religious, Ashkenazim and Sephardim, Tel Avivians and Jerusalemites, the vast majority of Israel’s Jews will sit down to a Seder this evening.

Yet few people realize that Passover also spurs a certain unity between some of Israel’s Jewish and non-Jewish citizens. The holiday has some Israeli Arabs rooting for the Orthodox political parties, including the rightist and pro-settler Shas.

Jewish religious law forbids the possession during Passover of bread and similar products, known in Hebrew as chametz. In Israel, the sale of chametz in Jewish areas on Passover has been illegal since the enactment in 1986 of the Festival of Matzot Law. It states that bakery goods may not be displayed in public during the weeklong holiday.

But the law has seldom been enforced, and for years Shas, together with other Orthodox factions, has been on a crusade to change this situation. This Passover, Shas is in control of the Interior Ministry, and has instructed local municipalities to employ inspectors and fine anybody they find purveying chametz.

In an Arab bakery in Haifa this week, there was rare admiration for Shas. It’s simple economics. Arab bakeries used to do roaring trade during Passover, selling to Jews searching for chametz. But in recent years, the taboo on Jewish shops selling chametz has eroded, and chametz has become far more readily available on the Jewish market. Shas’ move to reverse this could mean a very happy Passover for Arab bakers.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Shas, arab, chametz, festival of matzot law, haifa, orthodox, passover, sephardim, tel avivians

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • Kosovo's centuries-old Jewish community is down to a few dozen. In a nation where the population is 90% Muslim, they are proud their past — and wonder why Israel won't recognize their state. http://jd.fo/h4wK0
  • Israelis are taking up the #IceBucketChallenge — with hummus.
  • In WWI, Jews fought for Britain. So why were they treated as outsiders?
  • According to a new poll, 75% of Israeli Jews oppose intermarriage.
  • Will Lubavitcher Rabbi Moshe Wiener be the next Met Council CEO?
  • Angelina Jolie changed everything — but not just for the better:
  • Prime Suspect? Prime Minister.
  • Move over Dr. Ruth — there’s a (not-so) new sassy Jewish sex-therapist in town. Her name is Shirley Zussman — and just turned 100 years old.
  • From kosher wine to Ecstasy, presenting some of our best bootlegs:
  • Sara Kramer is not the first New Yorker to feel the alluring pull of the West Coast — but she might be the first heading there with Turkish Urfa pepper and za’atar in her suitcase.
  • About 1 in 40 American Jews will get pancreatic cancer (Ruth Bader Ginsberg is one of the few survivors).
  • At which grade level should classroom discussions include topics like the death of civilians kidnapping of young Israelis and sirens warning of incoming rockets?
  • Wanted: Met Council CEO.
  • “Look, on the one hand, I understand him,” says Rivka Ben-Pazi, a niece of Elchanan Hameiri, the boy that Henk Zanoli saved. “He had a family tragedy.” But on the other hand, she said, “I think he was wrong.” What do you think?
  • How about a side of Hitler with your spaghetti?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.