One of the fascinating aspects of Israel’s raucous, lively democracy is the variety of political parties. It seems there’s a party to represent every shade of political opinion, religious belief, ethnicity and social view. With the elections coming up, we’ve decided to write a bit about some of the smaller parties, their platforms and viewpoints.
This week our focus is on Ale Yarok, the Green Leaf Party.
From the party’s website:
The Ale Yarok party is an ultra-liberal movement founded in 1999 and today is running for Knesset for the third time. The ideology we are interested in forwarding is personal freedom, quality of life and legalization of the cannabis plant and all its applications.
Click here for the video link to a CNN interview with Boaz Wachtel, the head of Ale Yarok, that was made last summer shortly before Israel withdrew from Gaza.
As part of our coverage, we asked Green Leaf party activists Sylvia Sheinbaum, Gil Dattner and Varda Dror to give us a list of 10 things they love about Israel.
Ten things I love about Israel
by the Green Leaf Party
1. Israel is the birthplace of monotheism and the cradle of ancient civilizations, yet is also ultra-modern. While remaining connected to history and tradition it allows people the freedom to be unique and express themselves.
2. Despite being a country where security is of utmost importance and the military emphasized, a person can stand in the centre of Rabin Square and protest against the army without being afraid.
3. I love the fact that expressing anger in Israel is okay, even natural.
4. I love the informality; it takes about ten seconds to make a friend in Israel. Don’t bother getting into a taxi if you’re not ready for a conversation.
5. I love the fact that there is no such thing as a private dispute in Israel. If you argue with the bus driver, everyone on that bus will have something to say about it.
6. I love both the familiarity and anonymity of Israel. Everybody knows you but nobody actually knows anything about you.
7. I love the diversity of Israel. The people, the scenery, weather, religion, sexual preferences and languages. You can actually smoke a peace pipe with representatives of most of the world’s nations.
8. I love the people. They are good caring and wounded people that sometimes do bad things.
9. I love the duality in Israel. Although marijuana is illegal, there is a legitimate party called Ale Yarok that advocates legalizing the plant for personal, medicinal and commercial use.
10. I love that we are a democracy. Amidst a chaotic political scene the political parties are yet again capitalizing on fear and paranoia to win support, Ale Yarok offers an alternative, the freedom to choose, and the hope of a future where we are not forever governed by our fears and prisoners to our wounds.