There appears to be an end in sight to yet another coalition crisis over the unified Jerusalem: after a day of arm wrestling, Ministers Naftali Bennett (Habayit Hayehudi) and Minister of Jerusalem Affairs Ze’ev Elkin (Likud) have reached an understanding and agreed to work on a proposed bill to be approved next week by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation next week, Walla reported Monday morning.
The bill was vetoed by Netanyahu on Sunday, because Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked would not add a proviso requiring the PM’s and Elkin’s consent to submitting the legislation to the Knesset plenum.
The veto led to a sharp confrontation at a meeting of the ministerial committee for legislation and harsh exchanges between Habayit Hayehudi and Likud.
The bill requires a special majority of 80 MKs to give up any part of Jerusalem – effectively closing the door on any future peace deal whereby Israel and a Palestinian State would share Jerusalem as their capital. Deputy Attorney General Avi Licht opposed the bill in its current form.
The bill states that the boundaries of Jerusalem will not be transferred to or shared with a foreign party, political or governmental, unless it is supported by a special majority of 80 Knesset members. “Jerusalem is a city of special status and historic significance for the Jewish nation, and it is its eternal capital,” the bill states. “When there are elements who seek to undermine these fundamental conventions that are at the basis of our national existence, the Knesset must act to prevent any harm to the capital of Israel.”
Bennett issued a statement directly attacking Netanyahu’s veto: “Unfortunately, the prime minister chose to remove this law from the agenda and in effect blocked the legislative process. We are determined to pass this law in three votes and I am convinced we will all manage to unite on the bill and on Jerusalem.”
Bennett noted that “twice in the past 15 years we were a hair’s breadth away from handing over the Temple Mount, the Mount of Olives, the City of David, and three quarters of the Old City to the Palestinians, by [former Prime Ministers] Barak and Olmert.”