MK Yehuda Glick on Friday ended his hunger strike after avoiding eating for 25 days. Glick went on the hunger strike over a demand that Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon raised taxes on loose tobacco, to make it equal to taxes on cigarettes – a move Kahlon has resisted. “A person dies in Israel from the ravages of cigarette smoke once an hour,” Glick said in a statement.
Taxes on cigarettes in Israel, as in many other countries, are very high – but not the taxes on loose tobacco, which can be rolled into cigarettes, are far lower, and according to Glick, those cigarettes have become a major factor in the ongoing consumption of cigarettes, especially among younger people.
“Ten percent of those killed die from secondhand smoke. Israel is committed to international agreements on supervising the sale of tobacco, and taxes have been found to be the most efficient way to reduce the number of smokers. The Finance Minister has refused to raise those taxes, even though his top advisers have urged him to,” Glick said.
With that, Glick decided to end his hunger strike. “In order to avoid damage to my own health, and in response to the many requests I have received from family and colleagues, I have decided to end my hunger strike,” he said. “In the coming days I will meet with the Finance Minister, who has invited me to meet and discuss the matter. I hope we can do so in a manner that elicits honest discussion and with political or other pressures.”