Police to indict bar workers after serving minors

Four underage girls hospitalized with alcohol poisoning.

alcoholic beverages 224 (photo credit: Courtesy)
alcoholic beverages 224
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Police expect to file criminal charges against four employees of a Herzliya bar after four 14- year-old girls were rushed to Kfar Saba’s Meir Medical Center late Thursday night with severe alcohol poisoning after a night of binge drinking at the club.
One of the four girls was hospitalized in serious condition, nearly on the brink on death.
Medical staff said that all four had phenomenally high blood-alcohol levels.
On Saturday, police arrested the owner, promoter and two bartenders from the “Rafaeli” bar in the city’s industrial district. All four were brought to the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court Saturday night, where their remands were extended until early Sunday evening, when they were released on caution.
Police said Sunday all four men could face charges of supplying alcohol to minors. He added that the investigation has not found evidence that the girls were sold alcohol at a kiosk or grocery store nearby, leading to the conclusion their alcohol poisoning was solely the result of over-drinking at Rafaeli.
Police said that the four girls were not checked by doormen before entering the bar, and even if they had been, they were below the age (16) when Israelis receive a national ID card.
In late July, the Knesset unanimously approved a law banning the sale of alcohol at stores between the hours of 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. The new law came in response to a rising wave of teenage drinking, which is often directly linked to acts of violent crime that is a widespread phenomenon throughout Israel.
Under the law, police also have the right to seize alcohol being consumed in public.
Due to the often prohibitive cost of alcohol in Israeli bars and clubs, many youngsters will first pool their money together and buy bottles of liquor along with non-alcoholic beverages with which to mix them from all-night kiosks, in order to become intoxicated with cheap alcohol before going out. The empty liquor bottles, plastic cups and energy drink cans that litter the parking lots of nightlife districts throughout Israel attest to the popularity of the method, as well as the rising popularity of drinking among Israeli youth.
When the cabinet voted to send the bill banning late-night sale of alcohol to the Knesset in 2009, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu praised the measure, highlighting what he said was the dangerous rise of alcohol use among Israeli teens and pre-teens. Calling youth drinking “an epidemic,” Netanyahu cited a 2006 report by the World Health Organization that ranked Israel second in the world in consumption of alcohol by 11-yearolds and found that over 50 percent of 15- to 17-year-olds drink alcohol.