The AP reports,
Dressed in sneakers, khaki pants and a sweatshirt, the chairman of Israel’s pro-marijuana Green Leaf party takes a drag from his cigarette.
”If it was up to the youth, I would be the Prime Minister of Israel,” Boaz Wachtel says, sitting on a worn-out sofa in his Tel Aviv office. That may be a pipe-dream, but the prospect of Wachtel and his party getting into parliament is not.
Some pollsters say Green Leaf — buoyed by support from young, urban, secular Israelis — could win two seats in the 120-member Knesset in the March 28 election, leading the charge of small parties.
The ultraliberal party, whose platform includes legalizing marijuana, gambling and prostitution, was twice before on the verge of gaining access to the halls of power. In 2003, it was just 7,000 votes short of a place in parliament. This time, Wachtel promises to break through.
”If I didn’t think we had a chance of getting into the Knesset, I wouldn’t be wasting my time,” he said.
I had the unique opportunity to spend time with Boaz Wachtel last Tuesday at his home in Beit Yehoshua with members of the MAPS crew, and other Israeli experts in drug policy and alternative treatment methods. I assure you these people are no joke and are neither stoned-out hippies nor deluded dreamers.
Apart from the obvious issue of the decriminalization of marijuana, Ale Yarok favors religious pluralism (ie., the rights of Reform and Conservative Jews in Israel), an end to the Orthodox rabbinate’s monoply on marriage, exploration of and investment in alternative energy sources, and unilaterial disengagement from the Occupied Territories. They have one of the most thorough and well-defined platforms of any Israeli party, and they are articulate, honest, and informed about the issues, unlike their more mainstream competitors who openly lie and manipulate data to support their agendas.
If you’re frustrated with Meretz and Labor, or you don’t trust in a Sharon-less Kadima, why not put your vote to good use this election, and help bring a new, needed voice to the Knesset?