Mayor of ultra-Orthodox city Elad hands out cigarettes to children at Purim party
Yisrael Porush filmed giving smokes to young teenagers; tells media they were prizes won in quiz
The mayor of the ultra-Orthodox city of Elad handed out cigarettes to children on Tuesday during a public party to celebrate the festival of Purim.
Yisrael Porush was caught on camera giving cigarettes to youngsters. The video was then posted on social media.
It showed a group of teenagers clustering around Porush as he handed out the smokes, telling them, “there is enough for everyone.”
Speaking by phone to the Kan public broadcaster, Porush said that there was a quiz at the event he attended and anyone who got a correct answer received a cigarette as a prize.
When challenged to explain why he was distributing cigarettes to children below the age of 18, which Kan noted in its report is illegal in Israel, the phone call was cut off.
Porush is the son of cabinet minister and senior United Torah Judaism member Meir Porush. He has been mayor since 2013.
סיגריות לכולם ????
ראש עירית אלעד בהדגמת אחריות ודאגה לבריאות ילדי העיר. pic.twitter.com/awnYhjEVpc
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Giving cigarettes to children is a common Purim custom in ultra-Orthodox communities.
The festival is a day of costume parties. It’s traditional for kids to invert the natural order of things, for example, in some schools, children take the role of teachers for a day ahead of the holiday.
And in this spirit, in parts of the Haredi community, it’s become accepted for children to try the adult habit of smoking. It’s widely seen as a quirky exception to the rules.
Last year, the Health Ministry launched a campaign targeting the habit, warning that many kids who tried smoking on Purim eventually became addicted for life.