'Smoking dope helps the enemy'

Anti-Drug Authority: Israel's heroin from Lebanon, supports Hizbullah.

bong drugs marijuana 88 (photo credit: )
bong drugs marijuana 88
(photo credit: )
Patriotism may be the latest weapon in Israel's war on drugs. A new media campaign conceived by Anti-Drug Authority head Col. (res.) Eliezer "Cheetah" Cohen is trying to explain to Israelis that drug use, whether "recreational" or a full-blown addiction, provides a substantial source of funds for anti-Israel terror networks. "When you buy drugs, you're part of the chain," explained a spokesman for the authority, which has operated since 1988 under the Prime Minister's Office. Israel's heroin, he noted, "comes from Lebanon, and you can't smuggle drugs in the North without being involved with Hizbullah. This [trade] funds terror cells within Israel and espionage against Israel. This is funding Hizbullah's activities." Israel's drug trade is estimated at some NIS 7 billion annually, including some three tons of cocaine, four tons of heroin and 20 million Ecstasy and LSD tablets. Only a tiny fraction - single-digit percentages - are intercepted by law enforcement forces. According to the government, the drug trade is controlled by organized crime organizations and is used by terror networks to conduct espionage against Israel and sneak terrorists into the country. The new campaign, mainly conducted through ads and articles in the media, refers to drugs as a "threat to Israeli society" and to drug money as a "strategic threat to the country." It cites Hizbullah's drug trafficking and currency forgery efforts as strategic weapons in the hands of the terror organization, meant to raise funds, infiltrate Israel through criminal elements and weaken Israeli society. So important is the drug trade to Hizbullah operations that the organization has used negotiations over the return of the bodies of Israeli soldiers to demand the release of Israeli drug traffickers from prison, according to a police testimony before the Knesset in July 2006. Even the estimated 100 tons of marijuana sold in Israel each year, grown in Sinai and smuggled across the border by Beduins, ultimately contribute to organized crime and terrorism, says the authority. "For some Beduins, this is simply their livelihood," said an Anti-Drug Authority representative. "They're less involved in terror. But it is undeniable that the networks established to smuggle marijuana are then used to smuggle people and guns, mainly for criminal activities."