21:32 GMT28 October 2020
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    The snap election to the 120-seat Knesset is scheduled to take place on 17 September. The poll was called as the result of Netanyahu failing to form a government following a previous election in April.

    Moshe Feiglin, Zehut Party Chairman and former Deputy Speaker of the Israeli Knesset has commented on the Zehut deal with Likud and the upcoming Israel elections.

    Sputnik: Could you please explain your decision to do a deal with Likud?

    Moshe Feiglin: The deal with the Likud was the best way to implement the ideas of Zehut and start working on them from within the government already now. The other option to run till the end had much fewer chances to succeed than this one.

    Sputnik: What finally convinced you to end the run?

    Moshe Feiglin: What finally convinced me to go ahead with the deal was the death of Sivan Maimoni, may she rest in peace, and the option to solve that hard problem of ill people in Israel, who don’t get their medicines, their marihuana medicines, because of the existing situation. I started to negotiate with the Prime Minister and saw that there might be a solution that will save lives, and I didn’t want to wait for another four years.

    Sputnik: Was there anything Zehut demanded on this deal and didn’t get?

    Moshe Feiglin: There’re a few things that we demanded and ended up not getting. For example, I wanted to end the new ID cards. The Bank of Biometric Details that Israel started, I’m totally against it; and this is something I couldn’t get. The Shabak was against it, and some other things as well.

    Sputnik: Liberalisation of the medical marijuana market was one of the conditions for this deal, and was also on your election programme in April. Why is this issue so important to you?

    Moshe Feiglin: As I explained it before, I started to deal with the cannabis issue because of medical reasons. It is something that cures very serious diseases and saves lives. I happened to take part in a funeral just three weeks ago, of a young lady in her twenties who died because she didn’t get her marijuana medicine. It started from that, but it’s much deeper than that. The legalisation of marijuana is a symbol of freedom that we very much believe in.

    Sputnik: Eitan Haberman, the Yisrael Beytenu legal adviser, has claimed that the Zehut deal with Likud could be considered election fraud and bribery, and, if implemented, could force another election. How do you assess such claims?

    Moshe Feiglin: I think Yisrael Beiteinu and Lieberman are the last people to talk about laws and decency. Altogether, I find it ridiculous even to answer questions in that direction or claims like those that come from Yisrael Beiteinu and Lieberman.

    Sputnik: Prime Minister Netanyahu is to visit Putin before the Israeli elections, how significant is this visit? What impact can it have on Netanyahu’s poll results?

    Moshe Feiglin: The issue here is that, of course, critics might say that it’s all connected to the elections - but I think that it’s a weak argument, just because this is not the first, second or a third meeting – we have frequent scheduled meetings with Russia and a clear understanding and vision from the Israeli government that Russia is one of the leading players in Middle East politics and we are constantly communicating with Russia – Netanyahu pays a lot of attention to this channel of communication.

    President Vladimir Putin meets with Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu
    © Sputnik / Aleksey Nikolskyi
    President Vladimir Putin meets with Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu

    Apart from official meetings we have permanent communications with regard to professional fields - military etc. These connections are vital, and all in Israel understand it, especially in the context of constantly increasing tendencies and attempts by Iran to increase its influence near our borders. And there’s indeed a need of working closely with Russia, coordinating military actions which Israel is currently leading. How much influence does this have on the public opinion of the Russian-speaking electorate in Israel?

    Yes there’s indeed some influence, but it’s not because Netanyahu is meeting the Russian president – it’s not a surprise for anyone nowadays, but because there’s a clear understanding that Netanyahu had established important and positive contact with Russia, it’s productive, everyone sees and feels it, the contact we have with regard to military and diplomatic actions, everyone sees it, and there’s a clear approval of Netanyahu’s work on the world arena in particular regarding cooperation with Russia.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    Benjamin Netanyahu, Elections, Likud Party, Israel
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