Israel's new Deputy Heath Minister Yaakov Litzman (UTJ) looks set to reintroduce fluoride into Israeli tap water, just a year after his predecessor removed it from the water system.
The decision was made during a meeting of health experts at Litzman's request, according to Army Radio.
Litzman's office said in response the move was an important step in improving dental health in Israel.
Fluoridation of tap water is indeed a relatively common practice in many other countries; introducing small amounts of fluoride into the water system has been proven by some studies to help prevent tooth decay and improve the public's overall dental health.
However, former Health Minister Yael German (Yesh Atid) – who took the decision to end the practice in Israel last year after some health experts noted other, negative effects of flouride ingestion – slammed the move.
"Why must we force people to take medication against their will?" German asked during an interview with Army Radio on Sunday.
German challenged that consumers receive "100% of the (necessary) fluoride" from pure tap water anyway.
"I advise Litzman [to deal with] the many serious problems in the healthcare system. Instead of pulling it back, he should deal with the real problems."
(The haredi UTJ party does not take ministerial positions as a matter of principle, instead assuming "Deputy Minister" status over ministries they control without appointing an actual minister – meaning that in practice deputy ministers such as Litzman are ministers in all but name.)