In his song 'Terrorist' the artist Lowkey asserts:

It seems nuts, how could there be such agony?

When more Israelis die from peanut allergies

In the context of the song, he seems to be claiming that more Israelis die as a result of peanut allergies than violence as a result of the conflict with Palestine. If this is indeed his claim, is it true?

  • You might want to look into the sources provided here: ariehkovler.com/2011/08/yvonne-ridley-and-peanut-allergies, where a smiilar claim, and an adjacent claim regarding sesame are discussed. tl/dr; : possibly zero to three peanut deaths per year in Israel – bukwyrm Sep 13 at 12:19
  • 3
    Any good answer should hopefully include context, including logical fallacy inherent in the claim (the "agony"'s cause is the process of preventing more Israelis dying - there are so few deaths because of herculean efforts to prevent them, not because of low risk absent those efforts) – user5341 Sep 13 at 12:37
up vote 15 down vote accepted

No, Israelis don't die from peanut allergies at all, and considerably fewer people die from food-related allergies than from terror attacks.


it's a very distasteful and cynical argument. There is no place for comparison between accidental or health-related death and murder, in the US more women die from breast cancer each year than are killed by their partner it doesn't mean that domestic violence is not a problem or that husbands that kill their wives are not despicable murderers.

This is even without talking about the number of terror threats that were stoped in time and the effort that is put into lowering the number of deaths from terror attacks.


The song was released in 2011 so I chose that year for comparison, but this would hold for any year, as Israelis don't die from peanut allergies. Starting with the number of killed from terror attacks:

According to the Shabak end of year report from 2012:

במהלך 2012 נרשמה ירידה של כ- 55% במספר ההרוגים בהשוואה לשנה שעברה; 10 הרוגים, לעומת 22 במהלך 2011.

...

במספר הפצועים חלה בשנת 2012 עלייה. במהלך השנה נפצעו 309 בני אדם (300 ישראלים ו-9 זרים), לעומת 159 פצועים בשנת 2011.

During 2012 there was a drop of approximately 55% in the number of dead compared to the previous year, 10 deaths compared to 22 during 2011.

...

There was a rise in the number of injured in the year 2012. During the year 309 people were injured (300 Israelis and 9 foreigners), compared to 159 injured in 2011.

There are also graphs with the number of dead and injured per year:

graph of death

graph of injured

In total 1221 dead and 8519 injured between Sep. 29th 2000

Regarding the number of deaths from food allergies in general and peanut allergies specific. Israel has a very low number of people suffering from peanut allergies, and the number of dead (and injured) from all food allergies is extremely small as well.

From the Israeli Journal of Pediatrics, issue #78, June 2012. An article titled Peanut allergy is a geographical issue by Prof. Ilan Dalal:

הם בדקו את שכיחות האלרגיה לבוטנים בילדים בגילים 18-4 שנים במדינות אלה. כדי לנטרל גורמים גנטיים שונים, נבדקה השכיחות רק בקרב ילדים בבתי ספר יהודים. שכיחות האלרגיה לבוטנים בבריטניה הייתה 1.85% לעומת שכיחות של 0.17% בלבד בישראל, כלומר בבריטניה האלרגיה לבוטנים שכיחה פי 10!

They tested the prevalence of peanut allergy among children aged 4-18 in those countries [Israel and Britain]. To neutralize different genetic factors, the prevalence was checked only among kids in Jewish schools. The prevalence of peanut allergy in Britain was 1.85% compared to a prevalence of only 0.17% in Israel, meaning in Britain the peanut allergy is 10 times more prevalent.

In the same article appears:

לצערנו, בשנים האחרונות היו 5 מקרי מוות מאלרגיה למזון, 4 מתוכם בשל אלרגיה לחלב פרה. לאחרונה, נוסף לרשימה מקרה טרגי של בחורה שנפטרה לאחר אכילת אגוזים.

Sadly, in the last years, there were 5 cases of death from food allergies, 4 of which were due to an allergy to cow milk. Lately, a tragic case of a woman who died after eating nuts was added to the list.

I have also found a news article talking about the death of a 15 years old boy from cow milk allergy in 2014 pointing out:

בממוצע מתרחשים בישראל שני מקרי מוות בשנה עקב אלרגיה למזון וסיבוכים בדרגות חומרה שונות.

On average, in Israel, two cases of death and serious complications of varying degree are caused by food allergy each year.

All translations were made by me

  • excellent answer, thank you very much! – George Grainger Sep 14 at 7:43

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