Roi Ben-Yehuda, a Ph.D. student at ICAR, is an Israeli writer based in the U.S. He is a regular contributor to Haaretz and France 24. He also writes his own blog, RoiWord. This article of his, which discusses Prime Minister Netanyahu’s announcement to pass a bill banning alcohol from kiosks and gas stations as well as limit its sales and advertisement, was published recently.
A Toast for Peace
By Roi Ben-Yehuda
A couple of weeks ago, Prime Minister Netanyahu announced his intention to pass a bill that would ban alcohol from kiosks and gas stations as well as limit its sales and advertisement. The purpose of the bill is to reduce the seemingly rising level of violence and road accidents inside Israel.
The subject of violence and alcohol has been recently seared into the consciousness of Israelis when a group of inebriated teenagers attacked a family of three at a Tel-Aviv beach, brutally murdering the father.
That killing was just one of many harrowing accounts of high-profile crimes reported in Israel this summer – including a mother starving her child, a father killing his toddler, a dismembered woman found in a burning garbage bin, another dismembered woman found in a river, and a shooting at a gay youth center.
Reflecting on this phenomenon, Haaretz columnist and former politician Yossi Sarid aptly wrote that violence in Israel is undergoing privatization:
“The state no longer has a monopoly over the use of force. We meet violence everywhere: in the army, schools, hospitals, publicly, privately, driving and parking.”
While there may be a relationship between violence and alcohol consumption, in a society like Israel, where heavy drinking is not the norm, Netanyahu’s new law is akin to putting a band-aid over a tumor.
If the Prime Minister is really interested in meaningfully reducing violence in Israeli society, which he surely is, he should focus all his energies on ending the conflict with the Palestinians.
Read the whole article here, at Haaretz.com.© Marc Gopin