Huldai fans flames in anti-smoking, drinking campaign

Tel Aviv's mayor says he's determined to provide tough enforcement of the law against smoking in public places and prohibit alcohol sales after 9.

ron huldai 88 224 (photo credit: )
ron huldai 88 224
(photo credit: )
Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai has announced a crackdown on smoking and drinking in his city, raising eyebrows by declaring that people who wish to smoke in pubs or nightclubs can go to neighboring Rishon Lezion to do so, leaving "quality" places of entertainment in Tel Aviv, reports Huldai made the comment at a stormy municipal meeting at which he made it clear that he was serious about fighting excessive alcohol consumption and breaches of anti-smoking laws in his city. According to the report, Huldai told the meeting he was determined to introduce laws to prohibit the sale of alcohol after 9 p.m. and to close nightclubs after 3 a.m., and that he was also planning to provide uncompromising enforcement of the law against smoking in public places and to declare war on kiosks selling drugs. When one councilor pointed out that the anti-smoking law had reduced the income of the city's pubs by 30 percent, Huldai reportedly lost his temper. "I'm not panicking about the idea that smokers will be in Rishon, presuming they can smoke there," Huldai responded. "So what? In Tel Aviv there is quality entertainment - that will be the motto." The report said that many of the participants at the meeting were skeptical about Huldai's plan to prohibit the sale of alcohol after 9 pm, saying it would not achieve anything and that those wishing to drink would find ways to do so. But Huldai scoffed at the criticism, saying that if it is possible to introduce such laws in Ireland, there is no reason it can't be done in Tel Aviv. He said excessive alcohol consumption had caused stabbings, car accidents and damage to quality of life, and limits had to be established and enforced. "I am not ashamed that it will not be possible to go to four or five immediately accessible kiosks (to buy alcohol after 9 p.m.). Don't tell me this won't work. If 20 people who need (alcohol) don't go, then I have already helped with something," Huldai said. A Rishon Lezion municipal spokesman responded that the city intended to compete with Tel Aviv and other cities in every way, including quality.