The Pesach of 2008 saw a tremendous hypocrisy contest in Israel. A secular court in the holy city of Jerusalem lifted the punishments imposed on several sellers of leavened bread (hametz) the previous Pesach. In effect, the court made it unpunishable, and therefore legal, to sell leavened bread on Pesach.
The commandment prohibiting leavened bread on Pesach is among the most prominent in Judaism. The commandment is equally binding on Jews and non-Jews alike in the Land of Israel, and its violation is punishable with death. Judaism is neither liberal nor individual; its rules are enforced throughout the Land of Israel.
The Israeli state retains the paraphernalia of Judaism, and Pesach is its national holiday. The state, however, has dropped Pesach’s two major commandments: Temple service and non-leavened bread. While a modicum of political justification is advanced against rebuilding the Temple, the permission to sell leavened bread on Pesach is entirely voluntary. The state of Israel chose its secular character over its Jewish identity.
Israeli religious parties decried the court’s verdict a bit too late. After sixty years of atheist brainwashing in Israeli schools, after the government’s ban on Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount, after the announced decisions to abandon Judea and Jerusalem to Arabs, the permission to sell hametz on Pesach is really not unexpected. And it is a relatively minor thing compared to the government’s other offenses against Judaism. But for ultra-Orthodox Jews, the symbolism long outweighs the substance. They murder Judaism with a death of a thousand rites; they replace Jewish life, Jewish wars, and Jewish statehood with Shabbat elevators.
There is nothing technically wrong with the Jerusalem court which decided on hametz. The court merely acted upon the laws of the state. If Israel is a liberal democracy, then it cannot enforce religious rules on unwilling subjects. Imagine the outcry if Russia or Greece enforced religious rules concerning the Christian Passover, a forty-day partial fast, for example.
The court was only happy to apply the law straightforwardly in order to further its own anti-Semitism, a time-honored self-hatred of Jews who happily eradicate the Jewishness of others. The Israeli left applauded the court’s decision not because of liberalism. Israeli leftists are anything but liberal; they are some of the worst totalitarians, who keep political opponents, even teenage girls, in jail. The verdict signified the left’s triumph over their main enemies, religious Jews.
There is no way to reconcile a secular and a Jewish state.