A person I greatly admire and respect is head of Agudah and Israeli Health Minister Rabbi Yaakov Litzman. He is an extraordinarily dedicated health minister for all Israelis, whether religious or secular. Indeed, polls show him to have the highest percentage of approval among all Israeli ministers (including Binyamin Netanyahu). I greatly admire all Israelis for realizing how much he cares for them and their children.
Because of Rabbi Litzman’s herculean efforts, soon no longer will “shoko” — the little bags of sugar-laden chocolate milk that generations of Israelis grew up on — be distributed in schools. Additionally, in the words of Rabbi Litzman, “Israel, as does the whole world, has a very big problem with diabetes … and Israel also has a problem with obesity … We have to lower sugar intake, we have to lower salt intake …”
Rabbi Litzman doesn’t merely talk; he acts. He has had conferences with large food manufacturers and he made it clear “McDonalds — out. Junk food, also.”
Last week he and the food companies agreed on a goal that, by January 2018, every food in Israel will be marked red or green. Red labels will tell consumers that the food is not recommended, and green labels will identify healthful foods. Additionally, now, before Chanukah, he declared “sufganiyot — out” due to the high fat content; he wants Israelis to find a healthier Chanukah eating alternative. You can be sure that the Rambam, who wrote so much about the mitzvah of guarding one’s health, is kvelling in Gan Eden as he watches Harav Litzman.
Rabbi Litzman has drastically increased the availability of MRI machines in Israeli hospitals. He recently met with Americal mogul Sheldon Adelson because Israel needs a $60 million machine — a 220-ton machine called a cyclotron which is used for proton therapy, which is especially effective in treating young cancer patients. Rabbi Litzman simply does not stop! May Hashem pay him back for what he does for Klal Yisrael!
Avrohom Ashenberg, Brooklyn, N.Y.