Kafe Knesset for Jan. 26

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With all due respect to the usual agenda, green leaves of marijuana took over this morning’s Knesset conversations. Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan announced that he supports decriminalization of the drug, a victory for a vocal public campaign, endorsed by many lawmakers and celebrities from both sides of the political spectrum. Erdan had voiced strong opposition to the move, but eventually decided to adopt the conclusions of a panel which recommended fines instead of criminal procedures. The move inspired a wave of warm responses from a younger generation MKs leading the campaign.

Meretz’s Tamar Zandberg praised Erdan for his “well timed courageous decision,” and for being attentive to the public discourse. Likud’s Amir Ohana said the move was “an important step towards full legalization. Israel is a freer place today.”

Erdan’s announcement competed with Bibi’s Knesset show for headline attention. As expected, he gave quite a show – an hour and a half long parliamentary Q&A session. He dodged most of the Opposition’s questions about his entanglement in several criminal affairs, and offered a 15 minute monologue blasting the “unprecedented media campaign aiming to replace him by pressuring the attorney general to indict at any cost.”

“You don’t replace a prime minister,” he said, “in investigations.”

Many of the MKs had questions about Bibi’s relationship with the media, and Netanyahu gave a scattering defense, blasting the politicians’ hypocrisy. “You’re not really saying I’m the first to meet media influencers and publishers, right? I’m glad the AC is working because the amount of butter melting from people’s heads could fill ponds.”

The headlines were focused on Bibi’s dramatic defense line in the wake of his investigation, but amongst other issues raised by the MKs was, of course, the upcoming meeting with President Trump.

A Jewish Home MK asked Netanyahu if he intends to disavow the Bar Ilan speech in the meeting, and Netanyahu politely evaded the question, stating only that “We need to be responsible just like we have been in the past. Wise statemanship is not to do whatever I want but to reach what I want in a clever manner. I will be discussing settlement construction and other issues with President Trump.”


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