Israeli Green Leaf Party rules pot not kosher during Passover; Kosher the rest of the time!

 Hasite Images Iht Daily D270307 70HempIsraeli Pro-marijuana party tells supporters: Pot smoking forbidden on Passover By The Associated Press

In bad news for its religious Jewish supporters, an Israeli pro-marijuana party announced Tuesday that smoking pot is forbidden on Passover. Cannabis is among the substances Jews are forbidden to consume during the week-long festival, which begins Monday, said Michelle Levine, a spokeswoman for the Green Leaf party.

Biblical laws prohibit eating leavened foods during Passover, replacing bread with flat crackers called matza. Later injunctions by European rabbis extended those rules to forbid other foods like beans and corn, and more recent rulings have further expanded the ban to include hemp seeds, which today are found in some health oils - and in marijuana.

Green Leaf is a small political party that supports the legalization of marijuana. Although it is by no means a Jewish religious authority, the group decided to warn its observant supporters away from the drug on Passover. "You shouldn't smoke marijuana on the holiday, and if you have it in your house you should get rid of it," Levine said.

But not everyone needs to give up their habit for the duration of the festival. The rabbinic injunctions banning hemp were never adopted by Sephardic Jews, who come from countries in the Middle East and North Africa. That means there is no reason they can't keep smoking marijuana, Levine said, except that it remains illegal, despite her party's best efforts.

Green Leaf contested the last three national elections but never won a seat, despite gaining popularity as a protest vote. According to Levine, the party has a large number of religious supporters.

Oddly, the story posted on Haaretz drops the conclusion that apparently, it's kosher the rest of the year. That's what I read in the New York Times bulletin.

A couple other items from Haaretz: the interview with Prof Ron Robin from NYU:

Dear Prof. Robin, How do you see the influence of AIPAC and the rest of the Israeli lobby on the American policy in the Middle East?

Thank you, Jeffrey Hellm

Response: AIPAC is, indeed, a powerful lobby. However recent (poorly researched and politically slanted) publications have transformed this organization into something quite sinister. Personally, I do not share the underlying philosophy of AIPAC, in particular its unreflective support of hard-line, right wing policies in Israel. But this organization is merely playing by the rules governing the American political system. Contrary to popular opinion, AIPAC is by no means the most powerful lobby in Washington; it is however, more visible than most other lobbies. Its strenuous lobbying - for a variety of questionable causes - is nothing out of the ordinary. They are just a bit more skillful than a few of their immediate rivals.

This opinion bit about settling the conflict made some sense. Meanwhile West Bank settlers park themselves into a Hebron military base, "temporarily" for 16 years.

The Central Command has told Peace Now that the base was captured in 1983 "for security needs and not for settlement needs.... Nonetheless," the army said, "in 1991 the Justice Ministry handed down an opinion determining that the military commander can allow Israeli inhabitants, including civilians, to enter the territory, for temporary residence, if and to the extent that it is in line with military needs there."

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