According to Kan 11 News, Zehut chairman Moshe Feiglin met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, demanded the abolition of the cannabis reform (which destroyed one of the world’s finest, most efficient and most effective medical cannabis programs), and said that if his appointment as an economic minister in the next government would allow him to establish significant changes to liberate Israel’s free market, encourage small businesses, and restore civilian freedoms in Israel, he, Feiglin would conduct a referendum among his party members to help him decide whether to accept the PM’s proposal and quit the race.
At this point, Zehut is holding at well below the vote threshold margin, but should Netanyahu be able to secure a hefty measure of Feiglin’s voters he should be able to add at least one more mandate towards his next coalition government.
It should be noted that on Tuesday, Feiglin and many pro-cannabis advocates participated in the funeral of an activist whose fight against cancer was defeated by the severe cuts in her government supply of medical cannabis.
On Tuesday, Communications Minister David Amsalem (Likud) responded to reports about the possibility of Feiglin getting a ministerial portfolio in the next Netanyahu government in exchange for retiring from the race, saying, “It’s an urban legend. He won’t get anything.”
Following his meeting with Netanyahu, Feiglin announced on Wednesday that there is progress on the abolition of cannabis reform and that he is considering removing his party’s slate from the race for the Knesset.
“It’s about saving lives,” Feiglin wrote, explaining: “The prime minister has gone into the thick of things and, in consultation with professionals, we have come up with a solution that means the legalization of the medical cannabis market for patients. Which means that patients will be able to purchase the drug that they are due from any provider in Israel and worldwide through the pharmacies, and without further intervention by the Medical Cannabis Unit.”
Yakir, the health ministry’s unit controlling cannabis production and distribution in Israel, has been the target of much criticism over its recent reform which mercilessly slashed cancer patients’ allotments causing severe damage, including untimely deaths, to patients who had been recovering using cannabis oil. The same people who run this unit are also active in Israel’s cannabis export economy.
The Likud responded, stating: “The PM is making great efforts to prevent the right from wasting votes. There is significant progress between Likud and Feiglin and Zehut. An agreement has not yet been reached and when it is reached – we will publish it.”
While Likud could attract those Feiglin voters who support his free market and cannabis legalization, Netanyahu must be well aware that the health ministry, which has been under heavy attacks by Feiglin’s supporters, is run by United Torah Judaism chairman Yaakov Litzman, who is a staunch opponent of legalization. It is not clear how Netanyahu would manage to balance those two contrary views within his future coalition.