Israel Briefs: Netanyahu Considers Marijuana Legalization and More

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Netanyahu Considers Marijuana Legalization

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is open to the possibility of supporting marijuana legalization, JNS.org reported.

“I am now looking into the matter you brought up,” he said, responding to a question on a LikudTV webcast. “I will give you an answer soon. It’s possible that it will happen.”

Netanyahu also spoke about the prior government’s move to permit the use of medical marijuana, as well as allowing its exportation.

On April 1, laws that reduce penalties for marijuana use will take effect.

Tel Aviv Lights to Protect ‘Smartphone Zombies’

Tel Aviv has installed LED sidewalk lights to protect “smartphone zombies” — distracted pedestrians staring at their phones as they walk, the Associated Press reported.

The striped lights alert pedestrians to when they can walk (by turning green) as well as when they should stop (by turning red).

The pilot program impacts a single intersection in Tel Aviv, but will be expanded if it proves successful. Australia, Singapore and the Netherlands previously installed similar systems.

Survey: Israeli Control of Palestinians a Moral Issue

More than seven in 10 Israelis surveyed believe there are moral issues related to Israel’s control over Palestinians, The Jerusalem Post reported March 14.

In addition, 78 percent of Israeli Jews believe that controlling Palestinians in Judea and Samaria is not beneficial.

The survey was conducted by the Van Leer Institute, in cooperation with the Citizens Accord Forum and the Shaharit Institute.

Those qualms aside, just 12 percent call for that control to be stopped immediately, while 66 percent said there is no alternative at the moment.

Other poll data reported that 78 percent of the Jewish public and 93 percent of the Arab public agree that peace with people of other religions is a key value, while 51 percent of the Jews and 72 percent of the Arabs want leaders of different religions to be part of peace-related decisions.

Robert Kraft Prostitution Scandal Prompts Prominent Genesis Prize Board Member to Resign

Genesis Prize advisory board member Rivka Carmi resigned from her position to protest the foundation’s decision to uphold honors for New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft despite his recent arrest for soliciting prostitution, The Jerusalem Post reported.

Camri, who is an Israeli geneticist and former president of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, said the decision was consistent with her ethics, as she has been a longtime advocate for women’s empowerment. She said the prize was damaged enough — and she didn’t want to make things worse — but “I am supporting women on all levels and all aspects.”

Stan Polovets, chairman and co-founder of the Genesis Prize Foundation, previously told the Post the prize would not be rescinded.

“Robert was selected for decades of extraordinarily generous philanthropy, his unwavering support of Israel and unparalleled success in his field of work — professional sports. Israel doesn’t have a better friend than Robert Kraft,” he said. “The incident reported last week is unfortunate. However, as of now, it remains an unproven allegation.”

The award ceremony is slated for June 20, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presenting the Genesis Prize to Kraft.

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