The newest recruits in the Tel Aviv Police Department aren't grizzled veterans of IDF battles, or battle-ready graduates of police training programs – they're fresh-faced 15 and 16 year olds, who have been “drafted” to help police out in their battle against the illegal sale of alcohol to teens.
It is illegal to sell liquor without a license, and illegal even for licensed businesses to sell alcohol to minors 18-year-old and younger.
Store owner are required to ask for identification in case of any doubt, and the law requires signs to that effect to be posted in any establishment that sells or serves alcohol.
However, the law is widely ignored in Tel Aviv, especially at “kiosks,” the small candy-story establishments that dot the city. Most of these establishments sell alcohol, lottery tickets, cigarettes, sandwiches, cold drinks, and other “package” goods – and in the past some have been caught selling illicit substances, including drugs.
In their latest crackdown on the “kiosk industry,” police hired several teens – with parental permission, of course – to approach kiosks and attempt to buy alcohol.
A large number of the establishments – 27 – asked no questions, and handed over beer or whiskey to the youths. When a sale was made, undercover cops who witnessed the incident swooped in and issued summonses to the offenders, and closed down the store.
Offenders are to appear in court this week to discuss the closures. Police, meanwhile, congratulated the new “recruits” for their fine work.