Health Minister German Listens to the Science Instead of the Dentists
She also issued her decision Sunday in contravention of a letter written exactly two years ago by Prime Minister (and then-official health minister) Binyamin Netanyahu, who told Knesset Interior Committee chairman MK Amnon Cohen that he [Netanyahu] “could not agree to the cessation of fluoridation” of potable water. Netanyahu continued that municipalities had requested to continue their fluoridation of water and that they should be allowed to do so.
The Health Ministry introduced mandatory water fluoridation in 1970 in cities, towns and settlements with over 5,000 residents, and indeed, 70 percent of Israelis have received fluoridated water delivered to their taps. But German opposed it as Meretz-Party mayor of Herzliya and stopped it in her city. Just weeks after entering office as health minister, she declared that she would stop fluoridation and, encountering fierce criticism from critics in leading Israeli schools of public health and dentistry and from her own ministry experts, she wavered and suggested as late as June that fluoridation could be an option instead of being outlawed.
German’s spokesmen said that only Ireland and Israel require fluoridation of drinking water, but her critics responded that everywhere else is it an option open to all local authorities except where barred completely only in Holland, Sweden and the Czech Republic.