Jewish Journal

Israel’s underage drinking problem

by Brad A. Greenberg

December 24, 2009 | 12:42 pm

So that’s why all those teenage were walking the boardwalk and streets and Nahariya so late on a school night. JTA and the Israeli prime minister solved one of the mysteries of my trip to Israel three summers ago:

Israel’s Cabinet approved a bill banning the sale of alcohol to people under age 21.

The bill, passed Sunday, also bans the sale of alcohol in public places and would impose large fines on those who sell alcohol to minors.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the beginning of the Cabinet meeting that according to the World Health Organization, Israel is second in the world in alcohol consumption by 11-year-olds and the rate of consumption among 15- to 17-year-olds is above 50 percent.

“We are at the onset of an epidemic,” he said.

And they say Jews don’t drink ...

You know, if we weren’t talking about Israel here and, additionally, this state wasn’t surrounded by Muslim countries, there would be more foreign teenagers flocking to kosher supermarkets than, in safer times, San Diego high schoolers crossing the border into TJ.

(P.S. I don’t recommend doing a Google search to determine if underage is one word of two when used as an adjective. It’s one, and the search results will leave you feeling queasy.)

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