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The Schmooze

Who Buys All That Hametz?


(JTA) — Ever wonder how the Israeli government gets rid of its chametz, or leavened foods, at Passover?

For the past 15 years it has been symbolically selling all the chametz from state-owned companies, the prison service and Israel’s national emergency supply to Hussein Jabar, an Arab-Israeli resident of Abu Ghosh. It then buys it all back after the holiday is over. The price tag? $5,000.

On Thursday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, acting as finance minister attended a ceremony, along with Jabar and Chief Rabbis David Lau and Yitzhak Yosef.

According to a statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office, Netanyahu said, “I am always moved by this ceremony that symbolizes the continuity of our people and the revival of our state, and our aspiration for peace, security and prosperity for all Israelis and the Jewish People.”

Abu Ghosh Mayor Jabr Issa, who also attended the ceremony said, according to the statement:“I would like to take this opportunity to wish our cousins, the Jewish residents and citizens of the State of Israel, and Jews all over the world, a happy Passover. We rely on the Prime Minister and wish him success both in forming the next government and in leading the State of Israel and the people of Israel toward prosperity and success in all fields.”

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