Public unhappy, but some of sector's rabbis endorsing plan
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Litzman. Unfazed by complaints
Photo: Gil Yohanan

Haredim: Let us smoke in peace

Ultra-Orthodox public slams deputy health minister over his decision to back cabinet's anti-smoking plan. 'It's about saving lives,' Litzman insists

Deputy Health Minister Yakov Litzman is being criticized from within his own public, after the government approved a national plan to help reduce smoking in Israel.


In recent days, the deputy minister's office received many complaints from members of the ultra-Orthodox sector over the decision to raise cigarette prices.


"Many yeshiva students are asking the deputy minister to freeze the price hike," said a source close to Litzman. "We are flooded with requests, and people won't stop calling us."


Meanwhile, a haredi campaign has been launched against Litzman's plan, including a call center through which people interested in joining the protest can sign up.


The campaign has been defined by the deputy minister's people as "ephemeral and nothing serious".


In response to the attack, Deputy Minister Litzman told the Yedioth Jerusalem weekly that he understood the smokers' feelings of panic, but planned to continue backing the national plan.


"I am determined, because this is about saving lives," he stressed. "There is no rabbi or posek (halachic legal scholar) who permits smoking cigarettes. We'll continue destroying this phenomenon and saving lives, because it's our duty – to take responsibility and care for the public's health."


As part of the anti-smoking campaign, Litzman's office plans to recruit the sector's rabbi in an attempt to eradicate the phenomenon. The plan has already been endorsed by Hasidic rabbi and posek Shmuel Halevi, who is expected to be joined by additional religious leaders.


Litzman's office stressed that the tight reinforcement would also be implemented in banquet halls in the haredi sector, synagogues and seminaries, where there is hardly any supervision today.



פרסום ראשון: 07.03.11, 13:43
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