Knesset bans alcohol sales after 11 p.m.

Last minute laws include IDF tuition subsidy.

Alcohol 311 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Alcohol 311
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
In what has now become a Knesset tradition, a long chain of bills were passed into law on Wednesday during the final hours of the Knesset’s summer session, which covered a wide range of social issues but offered no surprises.
Many of the laws won the unanimous support of coalition and opposition members alike.
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By a unanimous vote of 38- 0, MKs outlawed the sale of alcohol at stores between the hours of 11 p.m. and 6 a.m.
Restaurants and pubs are not covered by the legislation, but kiosks, gas station convenience stores, markets and pharmacies will be subject to the prohibition, with violators facing a minimum penalty of NIS 9,000.
The law also allows police to seize alcohol being consumed in public and pour out the contents of the bottles.
The law emerged from a combination of bills introduced by the government, led by Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch (Israel Beiteinu), and private legislation initiated by Likud MKs Haim Katz and Yariv Levin, Israel Beiteinu MKs David Rotem and Robert Ilatov, MK Uri Orbach (Habayit Hayehudi), MK Avraham Michaeli (Shas) and MK Muhammad Barakei (Hadash).
When the cabinet first approved the bill in late 2009, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu threw his weight behind the measure, deeming it important in combating rising alcohol consumption among youth.
“According to the World Health Organization, Israel is second in the world in consumption of alcohol by 11- year-olds, and the rate of consumption among 15-to-17- year-olds is over 50 percent,” Netanyahu said at the time.
“We are at the onset of an epidemic.
We are in need of this legislation promptly. Israel is waiting for it.”
Also on Wednesday, Deputy Minister Gila Gamliel (Likud) saw a happy conclusion to 18 months of work spent preparing one of the first laws passed during the day’s long session.
It will cover tuition for the first year of undergraduate studies for students who served in the IDF or performed national service.
The scholarship will be valid at colleges located in the periphery or in Judea and Samaria, and will go into effect retroactively for anyone released from service since January. It can be applied as early as the coming academic year.
The measure, noted Gamliel, has been promised an annual budget of NIS 80 million.
The law also grants special benefits to students from the periphery who have completed IDF or national service, including a free year of precollege preparation and an upto- 50% discount on their college tuition.
Gamliel, who has been tasked by the prime minister with advancing issues concerning students, youth and women, said she hoped the legislation would eventually be extended to include colleges in other parts of the country, particularly Jerusalem.
“This law will bring a positive revolution to higher education in Israel,” Gamliel said.
“It will significantly reduce the gaps in Israeli society and will make higher education more accessible to all young Israelis.
“This law recognizes and values those who give their time, their energy and their best years to the country, and encourages IDF, national and civilian service.”
Deputy Prime Minister Silvan Shalom (Likud), who also holds the Negev and Galilee Development portfolio, said that “this law will constitute an additional incentive in the long line of incentives that my ministry is leading to encourage young, strong and educated people to settle in the periphery.”
Shalom added that he will continue his efforts to include Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beersheba and Ashkelon Academic College in the list of institutions subsidized by the new legislation.
In the course of the torrent of legislation, it only took 15 MKs to correct what another measure’s sponsor, MK Zevulun Orlev (Habayit Hayehudi), described as 50 years of waiting to provide a basis in law for the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities.
While the academy has existed for decades, the lack of a clear status for the organization’s advisory capacity to the government had led to what Science and Technology Committee Chairman MK Meir Sheetrit (Kadima) termed a “weakening of its status” in recent years.
The law details – and expands – the role of the academy, including tasking it with carrying out a national situation assessment of scientific research and development, as well as advancing scientific activities and interdisciplinary research in Israel.