Some restaurants are taking the opportunity to offer free yogurt and fruit condiments in the early hours of each day, but others are not so sure.
The Israeli Knesset passed a law this week that allows for restaurants to dispense non-alcoholic condiments like fruit and yogurt at certain times of the day.
But there are a few restrictions on when these condiments can be purchased, such as on weekends and holidays.
According to the Knessets’ regulations, condiments cannot be sold in vending machines and can only be dispensed at restaurants that are licensed to sell alcohol.
The new law, which came into effect last week, allows for a “service dispensing license” (i.e., a business license that allows a licensed employee to serve alcoholic beverages), but does not allow for a vending machine license.
The Knesses’ rules state that a service dispensing licensee must also be a licensed liquor and tobacco store.
“This is a very serious issue.
The law is meant to protect the public,” the Keryal Shlomo, the chair of the Israel Beer Association, told The Jerusalem News.
Shlomo said that while some establishments have decided to give away free condiments at specific times of day, others are still reluctant to open up.
“I think that some people don’t want to open their doors on Sundays because they don’t know what is going to happen,” Shlomo said.
Shiha L’Aviv, the president of the SodaStream Israel subsidiary, said that it would be inappropriate for an Israeli company to allow its employees to dispence alcohol-free condiments.
“It is not acceptable for us to dispill alcohol to customers in an atmosphere that is not friendly and supportive,” L’Eviv told The Israel Times.
The SodaStream-branded vending machines that have been in operation since January are equipped with dispensers that dispense alcohol- and nicotine-free yogurt, fruit, and vegetables.
The machines also dispense coffee, tea, and soda, as well as alcohol-infused fruit drinks.
SodaStream’s co-founder and CEO, Haim Zalka, said he does not want to impose restrictions on Israelis.
“We are not discriminating against anyone,” Zalko told The Times.
“This is for a business that wants to be open and has good intentions.”
But Zalkas spokesperson, Eran Kagan, told the Times that the company does not take any position on the law.
“The law is an initiative of the government, not a law that is created by the Kabbalists, and does not affect SodaStream’s business,” Kagan said.
The new restrictions come after an Israeli court ordered the closure of a kosher restaurant that dispensed alcohol- or nicotine-based condiments during the Jewish holiday of Purim.
The restaurant was reportedly closed on October 7, but the decision was overturned in the Supreme Court on Monday.
On October 9, SodaStream filed a lawsuit in the Jerusalem District Court seeking an injunction to block the closure, according to the Times.
The lawsuit alleged that the establishment violated a 2011 Israeli law, the Prohibition of Beer and Wine Sales, which states that alcohol-based products can be sold only at places licensed to serve alcohol, like bars, restaurants, and restaurants owned by alcohol distributors.
The Jerusalem District Justice has yet to issue a decision, but has yet another ruling on the case on November 1.