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28 March 2006

big surprise in Israeli elections! Aleh Yarok to form next government! peace/shalom/salaam to follow immediately

Pro-cannabis demonstrators
decorated a police jeep
with Green Leaf paraphenalia.
Israel's daily newsmagazine
Tuesday 28 March 2006

today's weblog

Elections 2006

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Olmert's Kadima, weaker than expected, yet poised to form next government
Turnout at record low as Israelis vote: Kadima and Labor worry
Kassam rocket explosion kills Israeli Bedouin father and child in Negev
Will Israeli voters, pushing pro-pot party, be too stoned to vote?
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Kadima slips in polls, but still well ahead; Olmert makes coalition demands
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Will Israeli voters,
pushing pro-pot party,
be too stoned to vote?

By israelinsider staff March 27, 2006

Mock votes took place at various universities and colleges in the runup to Israel's parliamentary elections. Aleh Yarok ["Green Leaf" in English], pushing for decriminalization of cannabis, may be a surprise victor in Israel's elections, after excellent showings in campus mock polls.

At the Technion in Haifa, generally regarding at the Israeli equivalent of MIT, Green Leaf finished in first with 19 mandates, Kadima received 18, Meretz 13, Labor 12 and the Likud nine.

At the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the right-of-center National Union-National Religious Party came in first with 24 mandates. Meretz finished second with 23, Labor got 21, the Likud and Kadima 11 each and Green Leaf, pro-marijuana party, received eight.

At the Jezreel Valley College Labor came in first with 22 mandates. Kadima and Israel Beiteinu each received 19, Green Leaf got 16, the Likud nine, National Union-NRP eight, Meretz eight, Balad seven, Hadash six, Atid Ehad four and United Torah Judaism two.

At the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beersheba Labor came in first with 34 mandates. (Prof. Avishai Braverman, the former chancellor of the university, is running on the Labor list.) Meretz came in second with 20 seats, Kadima had 19, Green Leaf nine and the Likud six.

Students at Tel Aviv University didn't bother to vote. "We didn't want our votes to be wasted, too," one non-voter said, declining to say which party she preferred, although she leaned toward Green Leaf (or perhaps was just leaning). "If there's a party, any party, I'm all for it."

Running under the slogan "we have other aspirations," Green Leaf has broadened its platform to include non-drug issues such as support for digital downloads, greener scenery, and subsidies for higher education. Controversially, it has not ruled out negotiations with the terror-supporting Hamas, perhaps inspired -- or aspired -- by its similarly verdant color.

Most polls have indicated that Green Leaf will not pass the 2% bar required to gain entrance to the Knesset. A party activist said the requirement was not too high. "But we are," she added.

Talk Back! Respond to this article

Stoned by pot differs from stoned by iSLAM
wharold - Dar al-Harb (Tussle), Canada (03/27/2006 22:54 IT)

You like stoned with? or without? Seems easy!
Nicolas - Victoria, Canada (03/28/2006 02:49 IT)

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Source: International Herald-Tribune (International)
Address: 6 bis, rue des Graviers, 92521 Neuilly Cedex, France
Fax: (33) 1 41 43 93 38
Copyright: International Herald Tribune 2006
Pubdate: March 26, 2006
Author: Etgar Keret

Stupor in our time

SUNDAY, MARCH 26, 2006

TEL AVIV -- The parties my father votes for never get into Parliament. One year he'll vote for some economist with thick glasses who promises a revolution in tax law, the next year for an irate teacher with a ponytail who advocates a revolution in the school system, the year after that for a restaurateur in Jaffa who explains that only a new culinary approach can bring peace to the Middle East.

The one thing these candidates have in common is a genuine desire for fundamental change. That and the naivete to believe such change is possible. My father, even at the age of 78, is naive enough to believe this, too. It's one of his finest qualities.

In the last elections, my brother, a founder of the Legalize Marijuana Party, asked my father for his vote. My father found himself in a quandary. On the one hand, it's not every day that your son founds a political party. On the other, my father, who had a taste of the horrors of fascism during World War II, takes all his civic duties very seriously.

"Look," he said to my brother, "It's not that I don't trust you, but there are all these serious people who claim that grass is actually dangerous, and as a person who's never tried it, I can't really be sure they're wrong." And so, about a week before Election Day, my brother rolled my father a joint. "What can I tell you, kid?" my father said to me that evening during a slightly hallucinatory phone conversation. "It's not half as good as Chivas -- but to make it illegal?" And so my father became the oldest voter for the coolest party in the history of
Israel's elections. From the minute he said he would vote for it, I knew it wouldn't get into Parliament.

That's why I'm surprised that my father, an enthusiastic supporter of underdogs, is going to vote for Kadima, the party of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. The polls say Kadima is a shoo-in. "This is the most boring election campaign in the history of the country," he explained, "and I'm telling you this as a person who's been here since it was founded. I won't even turn on the TV on Election Day - well, maybe for the weather forecast, but that's it. These elections are one big sleeping pill.

"In past elections, there was always a little suspense, something to raise your blood pressure. And it didn't matter whether it was Menachem Begin burning up the town squares with his speeches, or the fuss over
Ehud Barak and that brilliant remark of his: 'If I'd been born a Palestinian, I probably would have joined a terrorist group.' This time, there's nothing. Sure, Olmert's smug. But one look at his face and I'm already yawning. Forty years that man has been in politics and he hasn't done a single thing anyone can remember."

"That's not exactly a reason to vote for somebody," I said, trying to argue.

"The hell it isn't," my father replied. "Listen, we've had so many Rabins and Pereses and Begins, people who tried to galvanize everyone with their charisma and energy. None of them ever really managed to bring us peace. I'm telling you, what this region needs is Olmert -- someone who'll bore us and the Palestinians so much that we fall into a kind of stupor. A stupor that's a kind of co-existence. A co- existence that's a kind of peace.

"Forget all that 'peace of the courageous' stuff Barak and Arafat tried to sell us. Even a child knows that courageous people go into battle, they don't make peace. What this region needs is a peace of the tired,
and Olmert's the man to put us all to sleep."

On the way home from my parents' house, I began to think that maybe my father was right. And that it wasn't exactly good news. If, after all the hopes and disappointments, all the accords and intifadas, the best a country can wish for is a politician so nondescript that the pundits are still arguing over whether he's on the left or the right -- if we want a non-event on Election Day -- then we really must be exhausted.

Etgar Keret is the author of "The Nimrod Flip-Out."
This article was
translated from the Hebrew by Sondra Silverston.


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