JERUSALEM (JTA) – Israel’s Cabinet approved a bill banning the sale of alcohol to people under age 21.
The bill, passed Sunday, also bans the sale of alcohol in public places and would impose large fines on those who sell alcohol to minors.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the beginning of the Cabinet meeting that according to the World Health Organization, Israel is second in the world in alcohol consumption by 11-year-olds and the rate of consumption among 15- to 17-year-olds is above 50 percent.
"We are at the onset of an epidemic," he said.
The bill now goes to a vote of the full Knesset and must pass three readings.
Under another bill, the Knesset will vote on a ban on the sale of alcohol between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m.