"I saw the father lighting the cigarette in the boy's mouth. He appeared very pleased. I was in shock," said Zohar Ravivo, 25, who works on a beach in the southern city. Ravivo was quick to bust out his camera and capture the odd incident.
The clip recieved numerous views before being removed by YouTube, which claimed it violated its terms of service.
The video showed the two-year-old boy holding a cigarette in a skilled manner and coughing in between puffs. The father is heard in the background encouraging the kid to go on. At one point, when his mother steps away, the toddler becomes fussy, but then he takes another drag and calms down.
The boy, smoking in Eilat
According to Ravivo, once the mother realized that the boy was being filmed, she took away the cigarette and scolded the father.
"But it was clear that this wasn't a one-time incident," Ravivo noted. "The way the boy was smoking and holding the cigarette showed he was a regular smoker. The father was really proud."
Elad Sheffer, an activist with an anti-smoking foundation called Avir Naki (clean air), said that he would report the parents to the police if he knew their identity.
"I think that social services should take this kid out of his parents' custody," he said. "This is blatant abuse and it indicates unfit parenthood."
The Health Ministry has reported this year that smoking rates were up among school boys and male teens, while the data showed a reverse trend in girls.