Israel's desire to save its citizens from themselves is a most commendable act. After all, this is what the state is all about - preventing its citizens from taking undue risks, to lessen their exposure to anger and reduce damage to their body and soul. Smoking really is a national plague, endangering smokers, passive smokers, the next generation and the generation after next, no less than the rampant crime in the streets and the insane carnage on the highways, which takes hundreds of innocent lives year after year.
Demonizing smoking and laying siege to the smokers are wise choices, no doubt about that. After all, systematically prosecuting a certain group is something Israel has refined into an art over the years (see under: The interior minister's holy war on migrant families ) which means the latest move will most certainly result in staggering success.
The methods seem to be taken from the war on terror: First make terrorists lives economically impossible and then hunt them down one by one, like stray dogs.
I'm not a heavy smoker. On some days, in fact, I'm not worthy of being called a smoker at all. I've learned to acknowledge that smoking bothers quite a few people around me, and I've learned to respect that. I don't understand why I should feel like a criminal on the run whenever I go out into the street, where cars happily soothe the lungs of passersby; and why the policeman supposedly entrusted with protecting me from the countless dangers of Israel's streets and highways should direct his depleted resources to chasing me.
Very well: Me and my ilk are easy prey. We have no rights, only a mark of Cain to carry between our lips; We have no right to stand up to the populist mob charging after us like an incited herd, for we have been branded public enemies.
Public enemy? Very well, I accept the verdict. I've been called worse. But one small trifle, if the legislator would please: If I am a public enemy, let him treat my enemies the same way as he is intending to treat me. And it seems like that's really not where he is going at all.
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