The Greenleaf Party Crosses the Green Line

Israel 1999

I.

        Elections in the modern State of Israel tend to usher in a season of distinct and memorable cultural experiences. Even without the raised stakes life in Israel tends to carry on at a high level of intensity. With the advent of campaign season all of the invested powers- formal and informal- gear up for a mad rush on the voter's mind. Under normal circumstances, politics is more or less Israel's national pastime. All of the celebrities either begin in politics or make their way into politics eventually. After all, that's where the real money is.

One of the common misconceptions about the political system of the modern State of Israel- widely held even by many Israelis- is that the existing framework is somehow conducive to democracy in the traditional sense. The reality is that most of the relevant power is held by entrenched elites and obscured behind mazes of bureaucracy and the thin veneer of popular elections. Until recently Israel never chose its significant political figures by means of direct elections. Various factions in the Israeli populace divide the body politic into numerous parties which join together in coalitions in a vague approximation of the traditional European parliamentary model. Citizens vote according to their party affiliation and the elected parties appoint designated leaders. Party loyalties derive a good deal more from the deep traditionalism of Israeli culture and its tribal divisions than from any sort of genuine concern with issues, and as a rule the more talented candidates are somehow commandeered by the more established (and better funded)Click for a BIG MAP parties.

As a result, the ethnic and economic classes which enjoy greater privileges tend to consistently back the party which has the most pronounced presence in their communities- traditionally Labor, while the religious, and those otherwise disadvantaged in the local cultural milieu side with the Likud- almost perpetually in opposition. In recent years parties serving distinct factions and ethnic groups within the State have also begun to emerge as relevant forces. In the midst of all this, the local citizenry tend to take their opinions very seriously and meld those opinions to one party or another without necessarily paying very close attention to how well they are served by the actual positions taken by that parties appointed representatives. The apparatus of apparent democracy which is in place allows every Israeli to take himself very seriously, and there is little that Israelis value more than being taken seriously.

The elections held in May of 1999 were of particular importance because they were to test two of the most important emergent forces on the political front. The first of these was the incumbent Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu who had only recently been elected in Israel's first ever popular election despite the organized opposition of the political establishment and their media cohorts. The other force, even more frightening to upper class Israelis of European extraction, was the Shas party which although officially affiliated with religious zealotry had become the de facto voice of the long repressed majority of Jews from Arab countries. May 1999 would be the last stand of the old guard if they failed to retake the key positions of nominal power- notably the Knesset and the premiership. On top of this, the heretofore widely unpopular Oslo peace process vetted by key figures in that same old guard was to be subject to an unprecedented test in the popular arena. A great deal was at stake for some very powerful Israelis and the media was enlisted to bring the sense of urgency that prevailed at the very top out to the streets. The entire country soon echoed with the fierce rhetoric of those certain key interests whose legitimacy, if not their very survival was at stake.

The battle lines had been drawn and the armies were facing off, and it was against this backdrop that I discovered the Green Leaf Party (Alei Yarok). I mean at first, you've got to admit, it's pretty fucking funny. There's an ideological war going on here for the highest stakes, in conjunction with a very real war of the military variety- and even if that wasn't entirely clear to everybody it would be soon enough. Nevertheless, somebody had managed to get a party onto the ballot on the ill-defined platform of legalizing marijuana and various other things. What those other things were, I'm not sure if anybody was ever entirely clear about- it didn't seem to matter terribly much. What intrigued me was whether this strange and yes, funny party could somehow tap the subversive undercurrent of Israel's disillusioned youth and actually become a force for the usurpation of elites. If nothing else, its presence on the ballot gave nominal legitimacy to some very radical and unpopular ideology. Most importantly, Alei Yarok would mean anything but business as usual, and in a marginally plutocratic regime such as the one in Israel, those who are not already among the elite would do best to oppose business as usual to the best of their ability. I was such a one- still not numbered among the elite- and in the face of the unpleasant showdown which the plutocrats had concocted to consolidate their grip on power I opted for subversion. If the coming elections were to be predicated on personality, resentment and bitterness then I was siding with the opposition. The very radical opposition.

II.

       My friend Joe Guy, Marijuana Photographer is an American expatriate, and veteran of the pot legalization movement. Joe called me the day before the elections to suggest that we contact the party's campaign headquarters and find out what we could do to help. Since Election Day is a national holiday in Israel I had the day off of work anyway. I thought we stood to do the most good in the West Bank- where I lived at the time, and where Alei Yarok's support base was probably relatively weak. We could drive around in my car campaigning in settlements and hanging posters at strategic intersections. It would be a fresh break from the usual politics of the region, and I figured we probably all stood to learn a thing or two. Joe Guy said he'd head up to party headquAlei Yarok's banner, with some nugsarters in Tel Aviv to arrange matters.

When Joe got to Tel Aviv he discovered that Alei Yarok had still not found a regional elections coordinator for the district of 'Judea'- a polite way of referring to the disputed territories whose population was not likely to be coming out in overwhelming numbers to support marijuana legalization. I happily accepted the responsibility, and even more happily nominated Joe for the accompanying position of regional elections supervisor. You see, every political party during the course of the elections gets to enlist officials who travel the country and supervise the balloting to ensure that things are on the up and up. As you can well imagine, Alei Yarok was rather short- staffed, especially in the West Bank. They were prepared to solicit a court- order appointing Joe Guy as official overseer of all elections supervision in the district of Judea. This would also give him the authority to appoint other supervisors as necessary. Joe and I were honored to be able to assist in whatever capacity seemed most useful to them, and we did share their concern for the integrity of the democratic process in Israel. So we planned an ambitious campaign tour of the West Bank for election day, and spent most of the preceding night partying so that we would be fully prepared in mind and spirit for the events of the coming day.

On Monday morning we woke up bright and early, at 10:30 AM, for a whirlwind day of electioneering. Had to get the vote out. First though, we had to wake and bake. Then, steeled for our solemn duty, we set out on our adventure through the Israeli political process, arriving at the first polling station around 11 AM. Much of Israel is comprised of early risers, and they had already voted. We were not fazed, however, as we knew that our constituency was still in bed.

Joe went inside to vote and I remained behind to decorate the car. I had parked a tasteful distance from the polling station since it is forbidden to electioneer too conspicuously nearby. Otherwise people might come to be influenced by you and the entire democratic process would grind to a screeching halt. Nevertheless, the major parties had managed to enlist local homeowners to dangle their conspicuous support from windows and balconies. But then these were the major parties, and the popular culture was already fairly saturated by their conspicuous influence. I parked a block away, and affixed posters and bumper stickers to all of the surfaces of my car that I didn't need to see through. The bemused glances that I attracted from passersby testified to the fact that this haven for the transplanted American urban middle class was not our strongest territory.

Meanwhile, Joe Guy, Marijuana photographer was operating inside- drawing eye contact, constituting a credible presence among the decent people, appearing just like one of them. Approaching the registration desk, a psychedelic pot leaf emblazoned on his t-shirt, Joe was greeted by an aging American immigrant who just couldn't seem to get his name right. At last Joe could move on to the line for the voting booth where, waiting in line he cast the image of his pink and fluorescent day-glo fractal marijuana leaf deep into some recent immigrant's Israel fantasy.

After voting Joe made straight for the registration table flashing a warm smile and his official elections supervisor identification. Inspiring cognitive dissonance, as American retirees begin to scatter. "I'm the supervisor here, I'd like to witness the proceedings." And supervise he did though it was terribly boring and the scene having been made it was time to move on to the next stage of the adventure, so to the car he repaired and off we went. The key to our power, if we were going to be effective at all, would be the pleasant and endearing front that we presented in the otherwise rancorous Israeli political landscape. It occurred to me as we pulled away that the Lubavitch Rebbe once filled a similar position, always smiling. The Buddha too, as I recall. Amazing how powerful a smile can be.

After securing our official documents from the national elections supervision station we prepared to head out of Jerusalem onto the campaign trail. We were pleased to learn that Alei Yarok was considered to be a real contender in the Knesset race. We had never been motivated by thoughts that we might win, but it was exciting all the same. Youthful supporters in Kiryat Moshe

While passing through the Kiryat Moshe neighborhood of Jerusalem on our way out to the Gush Etzion tunnels we realized that we'd have to stop to buy batteries if we intended to serenade the voting public with the stereo that we brought for the purpose. We pulled over and immediately attracted the interest of a couple of the local youth. Staunch Alei Yarok supporters as it turned out. One of them, Yoni, made a campaign donation to help offset the cost of the batteries, as well as another donation of a more welcome kind. We'd get more used to that kind of donation as the day progressed, and I began to think that I could get to really like this politics thing after all.

III.

       The first district that we were to cover was Gush Etzion- the Etzion Bloc. One of the first major Jewish settlements in the Judean hills just outside of Jerusalem prior to the War of Independence, its inhabitants were all brutally rounded up and massacred after it fell to the Jordanian Legion in 1949. Liberated by Israel in 1967 it rapidly became one of the most prosperous areas in all of the West Bank, boasting numerous closely situated towns and villages and a disproportionately high population of native English speakers. Out on the edge of the Gush sits the village of Bat Ayin, a tight community of aging American hippies that boasts two Jewish seminaries that are overwhelmingly New Age in their bent- one for men and one for women. We figured that this ought to be a locus of popular support, and made straight for it. We also wanted to touch base with a mutual friend, a Jewish Rainbow Gathering evangelist who had run the organic kosher kitchen at the previous north American Gathering. We thought he'd make a good elections supervisor.

We pulled up at the polling station blasting Sheva, an Israeli popular music group that plays original compositions with an Arabic flavor. There is even one Arab in the group! OK, so it isn't exactly Funkadelic for racial integration- but this is Israel. Despite our own limited regard for Sheva's music and ideology we figured that theirs was a message that the youth of Israel could understand. In politics one should always speak the language of one's constituency. In this case the language was a very primitive Hebrew with just a dash of Orientalism- but they meant well and we hoped that the point would come across.

We were greeted upon arrival by a devout and earnest man dressed all in black. He hassled us a bit and wanted to know which of us was voting. When we told him that we were supervisors he got real defensive- "that's what I'm doing here." "Cool," I responded, "how's it going brother?" He backed off, not so much out of choice as a very real legal obligation and we made our way into the polls to see how they were being run. Things seemed to be pretty well in hand, but we asked them to place a few more Alei Yarok tickets in the booth just to be safe. "Our voters are just starting to get out of bed now." Then we headed off to find our friend and sign him up to be an elections supervisor. It turned out that he was in a class with the head rabbi and couldn't be disturbed for anything. We left the completed forms with a friend of his and gave him detailed instructions, then left Bat Ayin for whatever was to come next.

Passing through the center of Gush Etzion we picked up a pretty young hitchhiker, who was probably about seventeen and making her way to the predominantly religious, if politically moderate settlement of Efrat. It just so happened that so were we. We asked her if she liked Sheva. We offered to let her travel with us as far as Teqoa but she seemed a little freaked out, and got out at the entrance to Efrat. We hung an Alei Yarok sign there among the countless posters for Benjamin Netanyahu and began our travels down the back routes that connected Efrat to Teqoa.

Somewhere between Efrat and Teqoa- but very far from either- school was getting out. Hundreds, thousands of Palestinian youth filled the roads. Sitting on a hilltop, alone among the passing masses of none too friendly children, were two very bored looking Israeli soldiers. They came to life as we passed by. Leaping to their feet they shouted "Alei Yarok! Alright!" and offered us big smiles and thumbs up. That was the first indication we had of just how popular our party would turn out to be in the military. In the end, over 10,000 votes of soldiers serving in Lebanon were mysteriously lost, and there was much speculation that the votes were repressed because they embarrassed the armed forces. But we weren't embarrassed at all, and we had just made some soldiers' week by appearing in the middle of their reality with great big pot leaves emblazoned on our vehicle. Joe Guy gets the word out

Soon after, we reached the town of Teqoa, which is built beside the ancient Roman ruins of Herodian. Herod, the half Jewish governor appointed by the Romans to rule Judea had been extremely paranoid of attempts to assasinate him. To defend himself from the threats posed by his Roman supervisors and his Jewish subjects he built various strongholds and fast points in the mountains of Judea into which he could retreat indefinitely with whoever in his family and his entourage he felt confident didn't want him dead. Of these strongholds Massada is the most famous and Herodian perhaps the most secure. Herod died in the end of a horrible skin disease, by all accounts he'd have been better off assassinated. Which just goes to show that you can be too safe.

The people of Teqoa still take after Herod, which is to say that they are still pretty paranoid. They've a right to be. In any final arrangement with the Palestinians involving ceding Jewish land they would be the first to go by most accounts. They also don't like Marijuana. We got wind of this pretty early on as we stumbled around town trying to find the polling station. We had quite a job trying to figure out where exactly it was, and the locals were far from helpful. We were accosted at one point by a man with a thick American accent claiming to be from Amsterdam. Instead of offering directions he began to shout of all the evils and dangers of marijuana smoking- beginning with powerful addiction and all the way to the complete economic ruin of society. No kidding. The car was filled with his sons and I imagine that he was very impressed with himself and the importance of his war against the forces of corruption in the universe which, in this case, were embodied in Joe Guy and your humble narrator. The defense offered by the forces of corruption was as concise as the circumstances dictated:

"Your problem is that you need to vilify those with whom you disagree. This is not really about drug use or about how I or you prefer to spend our leisure time. The world is far from perfect- and you have figured out that this is the fault of just about everybody but you, only especially the people who think most unlike you. If only all of the motherfuckers would fade from existence good people like you would be free to get on with living in the comfort and perfect joy to which you are entitled. What you need to realize, of course, is that by hating you simply add to the negative energy in the world and justify the perpetration of all sorts of horrible acts of violence and cruelty on those you see as responsible for your own misery. We have come to your town to tell you, not that you should smoke grass- but that you should respect our right to do so. We represent the intrusion into your reality of an attitude with which you do not even remotely identify so that you can come to terms with its existence. What, in essence, we are here to say is that people need to be nicer to each other."

After that he didn't really feel like talking anymore. It was quickly turning out that I wasn't just an idiot, but that I would insist on verbalizing my idiocy. On top of which I had the audacity to suggest in the presence of his children that people ought to be nicer to each other and that meanness leads to violence and inhumanity. This guy had chosen to move to Israel so that he could occupy the occupied territories. He had come all this distance just to escape the crazy liberals and hopped up marijuana junkies, and now two of them had just shown up at his front door. He stopped blocking our car and let us go about our business.

Joe Guy noticed the cop outside of the Teqoa polling station once we found it. "It's the heat, man. They must have heard we were coming." "OK, be cool. Make sure all our papers are here and together. Don't let them mess with us." As we climbed out of our car the cop sidled over and I was all but spread against the hood of the car already. Israel tends to be pretty uptight about drug offenses and we were a driving advertisement for at least a few. "Good afternoon officer, we've got all our papers right here," said Joe Guy, Marijuana photographer, "I'm here to supervise the elections."

The cop was disarmingly friendly. "That's alright, I was just coming to tell you that you can't park too close to the polls because you might, you know, influence the voters. " "Oh, sorry officer, I'll just move the car right away." "Hey that's alright, you're not that close." Joe made for the polls and I began to chat with the cop. The author and the nicest cop in Israel

"My name is Nachum." "Adam." "What have you got there?" he was indicating the newspapers on pot legalization and awareness that Alei Yarok distributed as its elections paraphernalia. "Oh, newspapers." "Can I see one?" "Yeah, yeah definitely. Here." "Can I get you something to drink?" "What? no... thanks." "Are you sure? coke, coffee... do you want to come in? Check things out?" "No, no, that's cool, Joe Guy can take care of himself." "OK, if you're sure. How's it been going?"

Somehow, in the midst of all of the madness we had just stumbled upon the coolest cop in Israel. "I try to be nice to everyone. I figure that's my job here today. I don't care who people are voting for, what they represent, I'm just here to keep the peace. The most important thing for me to do is to smile and represent the Israeli Police force in a positive light." Joe Guy came out to find me leaning against the car chatting with Officer Herzl. Handed me a cup of coke that he'd brought from within. "Everything okay out here?" "Great Joe. Meet a friend of mine, Officer Herzl, IPD." "Pleasure." "Officer Herzl was just explaining to me how his job is to be nice to everyone." "No kidding, that's our job too. Do you mind if I take your picture against the car here?"

Soon officer Herzl had to be getting back on the job. An activist for the religious peace camp was getting dangerously close to the polls with her party's slogan brazenly imprinted upon her t-shirt. Officer Herzl closed in to cut her off and some mighty unpleasant words soon followed. Her fault, of course, Nachum tried his best to be nice. Leftists out in these parts have a tendency to get mighty uptight. We figured this was our cue to push off, we still had a lot of miles to cover. I hope it all turned out okay, but I'm sure that It did. I'm pretty confident that Officer Herzl knows how to take care of himself.

We had to pass back through Jerusalem to head into the northern hills as they become Samaria. Just past the Arab village of Hizmeh is the town of Adam, where a hitchhiker had given me pot late one night when I really needed it. I thought I'd repay the favor by bringing Alei Yarok to town for a brief campaign stop.

It was quickly evident that we could be assured of the under-eighteen vote in Adam if only they were allowed to vote. No sooner had we pulled to the curb outside of the polling station than the youth of Adam descend upon the car to welcome us, demanding signs and bumper stickers. "My dad is voting for Alei Yarok. I swear." "C'mon give me another bumper sticker, I want to put one on my mother's car." "Are you kidding me?" "No man, she loves Alei Yarok." "Give me signs, I want to hang them up around town." and Joe Guy: "Hang them where people are going to see them don't put them all in your bedroom." "Yeah, yeah, I'm gonna put them up good." So as Joe moved in to supervise things I did what I could to keep the locals from pulling the posters right off my car. I tried to keep them occupied with the bongos. When Joe finally came back we were lucky to escape with our clothes still on. Joe commented on how Israeli kids are seriously lacking in restraint and decorum. Which was a polite way of saying that when they see something they like they fucking take it. Not all that unlike Israeli adults, I'm sorry to say.

Driving deep into the heartland we did a short publicity run through Bet El- banner settlement of the religious right wing. Since the Ramalla bypass road moved the majority of Jewish traffic some miles to the east a couple of years ago these folks have been living in an armed camp. Literally. As we drove through town, Sheva blaring and everything, people could barely be bothered to notice us. Joe remarked that these people don't really seem to particularly care one way or the other: "What's marijuana?" So we just moved on out of there and got on our way.

We took the scenic route from Bet El to our campaign headquarters in the idyllic bedroom community of Eli, at the rough geographic center of the West Bank. Beautiful rustic crossings and ancient olive groves sloped down to the highway as it ran through the floor of a wadi and up a ridge to pass by the Jelazoon refugee camp. On windy days you can see the kites sailing in the skies above the valley below, as young displaced persons take advantage of the weather and the end of the school day. There are high rusting posts where a fence used to keep stones and their throwers off of cars moving along the highway. There hadn't been a stone or a fence in some time. It was pretty hard to imagine violence and hatred as we moved into greener hills and patches of olive and date trees climbing gentle terraces up the hillsides.

IV.Campaign headquarters in the West Bank

We arrived at our headquarters in Eli spare minutes before 4:20 PM, and we were certain that this was no accident. It seemed that we owed it to our voters to hold council at 4:20. We were, after all, public servants and had an image to maintain, so we broke into some of the stash that Yoni had donated to the cause earlier in the day. After recharging and contacting the national Alei Yarok campaign headquarters we prepared to continue on our way. We were setting out in high spirits, having drunk a pot of turkish coffee and also explored the effects of gravity on the human mind at 4:20. I can tell you with some authority that they were salutary. Still, duty called as Israeli democracy languished and time was growing short.

We stopped briefly to purchase grow supplies from a local Palestinian purveyor of greens and soil then headed on to Kfar Tapuach, stronghold of Meir Kahane's outlawed Kach movement. I was later told that there are two groups in Tapuach- the Yemenites and the Kahanists. The Yemenites are okay. As soon as we reached the polls the townsfolk began to give us trouble, first demanding that we move our car further from the elections and then demanding to see Joe's documents over and over only like a hundred times. And in the midst of all the confusion there was a small child sitting in the street behind a car as it backed up, and people were so busy causing us problems that nobody seemed to be particularly concerned about whether he lived or died. I left in the middle of some argument to scoop the kid up and put him on a bench beside the road, after which I opted to pass the remaining time shooting the breeze with him. He didn't have a whole lot to say, but he was a good deal more articulate than the folks I'd been chatting with, not to mention a better listener. Joe, on the other hand, had work to do, and as he fought his way into the polling station I stayed on the bench with my new friend until Joe emerged somewhat the worse for wear. We headed back out on the road as the sun began to set over central Samaria, and as we drove out the gate Joe passed his judgment on the whole town: "Totally uptight. All of them." Which seemed about right, though I don't know about that kid, he was pretty cool. I hope they won't get to him in the end, although it stands to reason that they probably will. Kfar Tapuach is an intense place to grow up.

We arrived in Ariel, the largest city in the West Bank, to a warm reception. Joe Guy and I climbed out of our mobile campaign unit, Sheva blasting within, and set immediately to work. Joe was off to the polls as I distributed posters and newspapers to potential voters. A lively discussion soon ensued on the merits of legalizing marijuana. "You want to make drugs legal?" "No, see, like our newspaper says we neither advocate nor oppose the use of drugs. We are acting on behalf of your freedom and your right to do what you like with your free time and with your body." "That's bullshit man, you just want to be able to smoke a joint in peace."

"No, that's not it at all. We are here so that you, too, can smoke a joint in peace." The cops weren't into this at all and they immediately set about trying to make our lives more difficult. Two police cruisers moved in to cast the shadow of their authority across the proceedings, hemming me in from both sides. The kids, to their credit, were nonplussed. I tried as hard as I could to bring the cops into the movie but none of them wanted to play the bongos. Meanwhile Joe was having problems of his own. The cop stationed at the entrance didn't want to let him in with his shirt on. "You can't come in here with that, that's electioneering." "What the hell are you talking about? I bought this shirt in the US, it has nothing to do with the Green Leaf party." "Still, it looks like a leaf." "It isn't green." "People might think that's propaganda." "Look here-" and Joe indicated the insignia on the cop's lapel- "that looks like a leaf too. Are you campaigning for the Green Leaf party?" The cop had to let him through although he wasn't too happy about it.

WhenJoe is popular in Ariel Joe came back out things were more or less winding down for those of us who had remained behind. He photographed some of our assembled supporters and before long we were on our way back out of town. We debated whether to report the local authorities for their attempts to impede us in the execution of our duties, but in the end decided against it. We didn't need the paperwork, or the negativity. Little did we know that that was just the sort of thing that the folks back at headquarters were looking for. A subsequent visit to the party's website would show us that Alei Yarok was not nearly so different from the other parties as we had hoped. The site featured a long and detailed report of all of the problems caused for Alei Yarok activists in various polling stations across the country. It wasn't clear exactly who cared or why, but everybody seems to need to feel a victim. Everybody except us- although we were starting to feel a little tired we were pleased with our accomplishments and satisfied with a job well done. Just to be safe we put up another sign at the entrance to Ariel before beginning the long route back central campaign headquarters.

Twilight by now was fading to darkness as dark strains of funk warmed the final leg of our journey. We moved through a diverse end of the workday population near the checkpoint where the army had decided that the line could be drawn dividing the third world from the first, passing lines of yellow taxi cabs as they stopped to deposit travelers. We finally rolled into Tel Aviv after dark. We arrived at campaign headquarters to find that the entire operation had moved to Jaffa for the night and we followed suit.

At last we found the relocated headquarters, and prepared for our triumphant arrival and hero's welcome. There wasn't one. Instead we found a confusing array of small-time politicians milling about trying to make sense of the day's activities. The party (in both senses of the word) was dead. The only obvious difference between these folks and all the others who'd try their hand at Israeli politics was that these guys were all stoned, but I mean that was it. At least so it seemed at the time. We would later find out that the people who were really behind the whole movement were never even there. Prominent among them was the small-time businessman who had founded the party and would subsequently get rich off of the funding that the government provided for the fledgling party. We were pretty unimpressed by the whole affair, but we had learned a little bit more about the Israeli political system. It quickly became clear little remained for us to do in the smoke-filled bar that was to host the lame post-election party and so, rather than sit around resting on our laurels with the rest of the stoners we decided to celebrate out on the beach in high style. Which is exactly what we did. Who needs institutions and politicians anyway? Certainly not Joe Guy, Marijuana photographer.

V.

We didn't get into the Knesset, though we got pretty damn close. We put in a more impressive showing than anybody had expected and got three million shekels out of the government to further build our organizers bank account. Most importantly we demonstrated just how powerful a constituency the marijuana smoking public in Israel is- and we tried to spread the ideals of free love a little around the West Bank. When the results came in it turned out that several people had voted for Alei Yarok in nearly all of even the remotest settlements, including nine in our base of Eli. We like to take some of the credit for the strong showing, and who would try to stop us. One of the most important outcomes of the election results, according to a good friend and Alei Yarok, was that these solitary stoners who came out and voted Alei Yarok in their hometowns suddenly realized that they were not alone. And all of a sudden there has been a groundswell of communal consciousness among the pot smokers of the religious nationalist public. Still, our work here has only just begun. We will continue to strive to find the bridges which can link this nascent community to the Palestinian heads of the region. This might seem highly unlikely under the intense strains that have developed in the wake of the recent violence. It may be that even marijuana could not have prevented this last war- but maybe next time for, as Herzl once rather famously said: "If you will it, it is no fantasy."

 

2nd Edition ©2000 by A. S. Levitt
photographs 1999 by Joe Guy
all rights reserved by israelVR.com