Friday, March 10, 2006

Green Leaf In the Israeli Knesset?

Ale Yarok (עלה ירוק), the Green Leaf party, started out as a one issue political party dedicated to the legalization of marijuana in Israel. During the run up to the 2003 elections polls showed them passing the 1.5% threshold and capturing two seats in the Israeli Knesset. Then one of their party leaders came out in favor of legalizing prostitution as well and their support went up in smoke.

Ale Yarok is back for the current election campaign and clearly some Israelis feel it's high time there was Green Leaf in the Knesset. With the threshold to gain entry into parliament now raised to 2% and polls showing Ale Yarok falling just short the party engaged in a new ad campaign to attract voters with the theme "We have other aspirations". In Hebrew "to aspire" and "to inhale" are the same word. Clever. New items in their platform include gay rights, legalization of same-sex marriage, support for struggling artists, and reducing traffic accidents. Perhaps if people are stoned enough they will realize they shouldn't drive and won't have accidents.

Anyway, one controversial ad in particular garnered significant press both in Israel and overseas by showing what seems at first like an ordinary Jewish wedding but ends with a passionate kiss by two lesbian brides. (video here) Were ads like this successful? The first poll after it aired, conducted by Dialogue for the newspaper Ha'aretz showed Ale Yarok winning two seats in the 17th Knesset. If they do receive at least 2% of the vote there will be a lot of partying at Ale Yarok headquarters later this month.

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