Photo Credit: David Cohen/Flash90
Rabbi Haim Amsalem, Zehut party, March 9, 2019.

Rabbi Haim Amsalem, who occupies the second slot on Moshe Feiglin’s Zehut party Knesset slate has told Israel Hayom that should anyone ask him if he could smoke marijuana for pleasure, he, as a rabbi, would not recommend it.

“It could cause a loss of balance, lack of functioning or problems in reasoning – I don’t recommend it.”

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Rabbi Haim (Emile) Amsalem, 60, is a former MK who left his home party, Shas, to run independently in the 2013 elections. He failed to win a seat.

Zehut, which several public opinion polls have place above the 3.25% vote threshold, is believed to be riding on its commitment to legalizing cannabis for both medical and leisure purposes. Zehut chairman Feiglin is on the record as conditioning joining any government coalition on a signed commitment to legalize cannabis – which no other slate has declared, even though several, including Labor, Blue and White and even Likud have said they favor it.

Asked whether he would support going with Netanyahu’s right-wing bloc or with Gantz’s center-left bloc, Rabbi Amsalem said, “Our natural inclination is supposed to be in the right-wing bloc, but we are not in the pocket of either. We are focused on certain issues, and whomever responds to those – with them we would go.”

In response to a question regarding the LGBT community, Rabbi Amsalem clarified: “There is no legitimization in my view to things the Torah prohibits, and there’s no argument it prohibits these. But from that view to launching a holy war, a struggle and demonstrations – there’s no place for that. It won’t help.”

Asked if he would support same-sex marriage legislation, Rabbi Amsalem responded: Since the big idea of our party is that the state must not get involved in our private lives, this includes marriages. […] Live your own life whichever way you wish.

Regarding public transportation on Shabbat, Rabbi Amsalem said: “If the public transportation remains government-run, then absolutely not. Regarding any issue having to do with the establishment – the state must keep Shabbat according to Halacha. But just the way privately owned cars are driven on Shabbt, and just as there are privately owned taxis driven on Shabbat, there can also be private initiatives, more organized [offering transportation on Shabbat].”

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