Education Minister Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home) came out against the initiative of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to establish casinos in Eilat and promised to torpedo the project.
“The establishment of a casino in Eilat is unacceptable in my eyes, both from a moral standpoint as well as a practical one,” Bennett explained. “It is morally unacceptable because a casino goes against our national values, it serves the strong and weakens the weak. From a practical standpoint, it is prohibited because we will all have to pay the price for the physical and psychological damage that it causes.”
Bennett went one step further and used his position as education minister to back his values. “As the minister in charge of education in Israel I fight everyday against harmful trends that affect children, teenagers and women, and I will fight against the establishment of a casino. We will instill in our children an education of values and not one of gambling. Israel is not Vegas, and will not be like Vegas. We will fight it.”
Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Jewish Home) discussed the casino proposal during an interview she held with Army Radio on Wednesday morning and said “there are a lot of drawbacks to establishing a casino, and I’m not convinced that the benefits outweigh them.”
Netanyahu had proposed the idea of opening one casino in Eilat, and Tourism Minister Yariv Levin has suggested the establishment of an integrated casino that would be made up of four or five casinos in the city. The Tourism Ministry is demanding very strict regulations be put in place to prevent Israeli citizens from becoming addicted to gambling.
Levin attacked the Jewish Home faction of the government and said “The Jewish Home faction will single-handedly bring about the collapse of the city of Eilat. The over-righteous eye-rolling of the Jewish Home faction, which ignores the incredible amount of illegal gambling that is currently taking place in Israel without proposing an alternative plan to save the city, is not to be taken seriously. I expect government ministers to deal with issues that concern their own ministries and not to interfere in an area which they have not investigated and do not understand.”