MK aims to make Israel a poker destination

Israel would legalize poker and host international poker tournaments if a bill proposed by New Hope faction chairwoman Sharren Haskel and faction head Yesh Atid Boaz Toporovsky on Tuesday becomes law.

While sports betting and the lottery are legal in Israel, other forms of gambling such as poker are strictly illegal and have very serious repercussions. There are no land-based casinos in Israel, but several cruise ships leave Eilat to participate in poker tournaments outside of Israel’s territorial waters.

The bill would allow the Minister of Culture and Sports to recognize the poker industry with key conditions and to grant licenses. It would regulate poker tournaments and continue to ban tournaments that are not conducted with legal permits.

Haskel has proposed a similar bill in the past, but is now the chair of a faction and has won the support of a key ally in Toporovsky. In 2015, then-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu proposed opening Israel’s first legal casino in Eilat to attract tourists, but the idea was never implemented.

The four religious parties in the Knesset are expected to oppose any move to legalize gambling: the Shas, United Torah Judaism, the Religious Zionist Party, and Ra’am (United Arab List).


Haskel, who chairs the Knesset Education Committee, also sparked controversy on Tuesday, when at a committee meeting, he proposed teaching more about the Temple Mount in the state’s secular school system and forcing children to visit the controversial site. sacred.

Tali Yaniv, who heads the department of social studies at the Ministry of Education, told the committee that the Second Temple period is already an elective in the history curriculum that 92% of students in the secular school system learn.

Students make three visits during their school years to Jerusalem, where their schools decide between various options of places to visit. Options are often affected by the current security situation.

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