Supreme Court: No Bread for Muslim Inmates Over Passover

Court rejects appeal from Muslim prisoner who claims he is being forced to eat matzah.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected an appeal from an Arab prison inmate who asked to receive bread instead of matzah with his meals during the upcoming Passover holiday.

Mudabbah Mahmoud Rayik, who is serving time for a criminal offense, is jailed in a prison that houses both Arab and Jewish inmates.

His appeal to the Supreme Court, after his case was heard in the district court, claims that he is being forced to eat matzah despite the fact that he is Muslim.

The Israel Prison Service claimed that facilities with mixed populations are kosher, and that his request cannot be ranked above that of Jewish inmates who wish to follow the rules of their faith, which forbids the consumption of leavened beard over the holiday, which begins at sunset on Monday.

The prison service also claimed that Passover lasts only eight days, and that it would be imprudent to create tension between the inmates over such a short period of time.

Justice Elyakim Rubinstein said in his ruling that no one disagrees about the importance of bread, but that the state is only obligated to provide inmates with food, not a specific type of food and that there is no harm in substituting one food for another for a matter of days.

"Therefore, there is no legal offense in not providing bread during Passover to wings in which non-Jews reside with Jews in a Jewish and democratic state, especially when a suitable food is being provided," Rubinstein said.