Press Release

71% of Jewish Israeli Don’t Eat Hametz on Passover

But 48% Support Allowing Hametz Into Hospitals and a Majority Oppose Bag Searches

A special survey conducted by the Viterbi Family Center for Public Opinion and Policy Research at the Israel Democracy Institute ahead of the Passover holiday examined the opinions of Jewish Israelis regarding the “Hametz Law” that recently passed the Knesset. The survey found that while a large majority of Jewish Israelis said they do not eat hametz (leavened bread) on Passover, and a large minority opposes the idea of bringing hametz into hospitals during the holiday, a majority of respondents are opposed to enforcing such a ban and searching the bags of hospital visitors.

Main Findings

Observing the Passover Food Restrictions

A large majority (71%) of the Jewish respondents avoid eating hametz during Passover. Segmented by their self-definition on the scale between ultra-Orthodox and secular, 100% of the ultra-Orthodox, religious, and observant traditionalists refrain from eating hametz on Passover, as do 92% of the non-observant traditionalists and 37% of the secular respondents.

Allowing hametz into hospitals and IDF bases

Some 48% of the respondents believe that people should be allowed to bring hametz into hospitals on the intermediate days of Pesach; 44% are opposed. There is a large gap in the views of supporters of the coalition parties and of the opposition parties: 72% of those who voted for parties in the governing coalition believe that people should not be allowed to bring hametz into hospitals; 77% of opposition voters think it should be permitted. Opinions regarding IDF bases is different: 54% think hametz should be banned there, while 39.5% think it should be allowed.

Searching visitors’ bags

A large majority (76%) are opposed to allowing hospital workers to search the bags of visitors during the intermediate days of the holiday. Among those who defined themselves as observant, more are opposed to searches than would permit them (50% and 40%, respectively). Even among the ultra-Orthodox, a large percentage (41%) disapproves of searching visitors’ bags. Segmented by political bloc, 57% of coalition-party voters are opposed to bag searches, as are 91.5% of those who support an opposition party.

Setting up “hametz zones” in hospitals 

Among the Jewish respondents, 59% favor a solution that designates “hametz zones” in hospitals for those who eat leavened bread, as do 70% of the Arab respondents. This includes 77% of opposition-party supporters and a small majority of those who voted for the coalition parties (46% in favor, 42% against).


The Joan and Irwin Jacobs Center for Shared Society commissioned the Viterbi Center for Public Opinion and Policy Research at the Israel Democracy Institute to conduct a lightning poll about the Hametz Law. The survey was conducted by internet and phone (to account for sectors that are under-represented on the internet) between February 27 and March 5, 2023. Its representative sample of the adult (18+) population of Israel consisted of 608 men and women queried in Hebrew and 173 in Arabic. The maximum sampling error is ± 3.58% at a 95% confidence level. The field work was carried out by the Dialogue Institute. For the full data file, Data Israel.