Religion Magazine

Litzman's Exception in the Tobacco Advertising Law

By Gldmeier @gldmeier
TheMarker is reporting that the last stage of the cigarette law passed at the end of 2018 is about to go into effect this Wednesday. The last stage is unified packaging and keeping them hidden from view. I wrote about this law briefly just before it was passed.
The more interesting part of the report in TheMarker is the revelation made today by former MK Yehuda Glick, who was the father of this law and took advantage of Litzman's desire at the last minute to pass a different law to negotiate support for the passage of the anti-cigarette law. Glick revealed that the anti-cigarette law has an unusual exception built into the law. An exception that is not excepted anywhere else in the world that has a similar law.
Litzman's exception in the tobacco advertising law
The law referred to is banning cigarette advertisements in media. According to the report, Litzman, the Deputy Minister of Health at the time and currently full Minister, agreed to support the law only if the printed media would be granted an exception. He actually did not just grant it an exception, but also included a clause that would require any printed media advertising cigarettes to also include an ad from the Health Ministry opposite it warning about the dangers of cigarettes.
And why did Litzman insist on this exception? You might be able to guess why, but the report says so, and it says that everybody involved knew about it. Litzman was worried that banning cigarette ads from printed press would hurt his "home" newspaper, Hamodia, that bring sin nice revenue from cigarette ads. Not only is Hamodia the paper printed by Gerrer Hassidim, but his wife also works for Hamodia. As an aside he also protected the cigarette revenue of the other Haredi newspapers, but the main focus was Hamodia.
What's the big deal - all printed newspapers and magazines are equally excepted, so Hamodia is not getting any special treatment? Well, while other printed papers might still be bigger than Hamodia, he effect on them would not be as great, as they have all shrunk considerably anyway as the world moves to online media, while Hamodia and other Haredi papers have been hurt much less by the Internet, and have a negligible internet presence at best, and would be hurt much more by a ban on cigarette advertising. That is besides for the fact that he just cared about Hamodia more and all the others were just as an aside.
So, Litzman, responsible for the health in Israel, was more concerned about the financials of his friends newspaper than of the health of Israeli citizens. And not only that but along the way he ensured doubling the revenue of Hamodia from tobacco ads by including in the law a requirement for the Health Ministry to advertise opposite every tobacco ad.
I am not sure why so many think Litzman has been an amazing Minister of Health. There are reports all the time about the hospitals failing, not enough money, patients in the hallways, not enough beds, failing cannabis reform, and so many other problems and now a blatant conflict of interest. And that is without even mentioning (though dont worry, I made sure to mention it) the assistance Litzman gave to pedophiles in prison and allegedly manipulating doctors to give falsified reports regarding Malka Leifer and her extradition case.
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