Knesset Bans Liquor Sales by Stores after 11:00 P.M.

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JERUSALEM, Israel - Before adjourning for the summer, the Knesset passed a bill banning convenience stores from selling alcoholic beverages between 11:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.

The law also allows police to confiscate alcoholic beverages being consumed in public and empty the contents.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu put his full support behind the legislation when it was initially proposed in 2009 to curb an alarmingly rising trend in teenage drinking.
"According to the World Health Organization, Israel is second in the world in consumption of alcohol by 11 year olds," Netanyahu said, "and the rate of consumption among 15 to 17 year olds is over 50 percent. We are at the onset of an epidemic, and we are in need of this legislation promptly," he said.

The law prohibits convenience stores, gas stations, markets and pharmacies from selling any kind of alcoholic beverages.

Stores caught violating the law will face a minimum 9,000 shekel (about $2,300) fine.

Restaurants and bars are excluded from the after-hours ban.

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