Israeli Minister Was Ready to Defuse 'Chametz Feud' With Defecting Lawmaker

Idit Silman was supposed to meet with Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz on Wednesday, in which he hoped to persuade her to stay in Israel's coalition gov't in exchange for publicly attributing several achievements to her

Yossi Verter
Yossi Verter
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Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz in February.
Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz in February.Credit: Hadas Parush
Yossi Verter
Yossi Verter

Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz, whose letter ordering Israeli hospitals to allow hametz during Passover allegedly ignited Wednesday's political crisis, asked to meet with coalition whip Idit Silman on Tuesday in a bid to put a close to their dispute over Kashrut in public spaces during the holiday.

On Wednesday, Silman canceled her meeting with Horowitz, as well as with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, before sparking a political storm by announcing her departure from the coalition.

Horowitz, who has been in Ukraine for the past few days, had telephone conversations about what's being called the "Silman crisis" with Bennett and the Minister of Religious Affairs Matan Kahana.

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He insisted that the government adhere to a 2020 High Court ruling that hospitals could not impose Kosher-for-Passover restrictions, which was similarly honored under Prime Minister Netanyahu and Health Minister Yuli Edelstein last year. Bennett and Kahana agreed.

To settle the matter, Horowitz hoped to persuade Silman to stay in the coalition in exchange for publicly crediting her with a list of achievements as chair of the Knesset's health committee, such as implementing the law ordering information sharing between Magen David Adom and United Hatzalah.

Horowitz took to Twitter Wednesday to double down on his insistence on the High Court's ruling against Passover restrictions on hametz in public spaces. "Meretz is a responsible partner, and we are committed and will continue to serve in the government. This is an important government that works and promotes issues that have been neglected for years," he said.

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