An ultra-Orthodox settlement halted the distribution of food provided by the military over concerns it was not sufficiently kosher, Israeli television reported Tuesday.
The Israel Defense Forces has been helping to deliver food in areas hard-hit by the coronavirus, including the Tel Aviv suburb of Bnei Brak.
The IDF sent 1,200 kosher for Passover food packages to Modiin Illit, which were supposed to be distributed to the elderly, disabled and those sick with the coronavirus and their families, according to Channel 13 news.
After the municipality began to distribute the parcels, it was decided the food was not sufficiently kosher and it was brought to a community center for storage, the report said.
“It’s not hametz, no one said it’s hametz,” a source in the municipality’s rabbinate was quoted saying, referring to “leavened” food that many Jews refrain from eating during Passover.
The source said because some people are particularly strict in their religious observance and only eat food with particular kosher certifications during Passover, it was decided not to hand out the parcels.
“The state will manage even if they eat this next week. It’s fine. The state will endure,” the source said.
In its official response, the municipality said it only received 500 of the 1,200 meals and that those were given out immediately.
“Only now are we receiving the rest of the packages that were promised,” the municipality said.
Modiin Illit, a West Bank settlement with nearly 74,000 people, has 239 confirmed coronavirus cases and an infection rate of 323.81 cases per 100,000 people, the 10th highest in Israel as of Tuesday morning.
It is one of a number of ultra-Orthodox communities that has seen a large outbreak of the virus, along with Bnei Brak, Elad, Beitar Illit and Haredi neighborhoods in Jerusalem, among others.