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Naftali Bennett.(Photo by: AVSHALOM SASSONI/MAARIV)
Ministers to vote on Jerusalem, conversion
By GIL HOFFMAN
07/08/2017
Committee will also consider bill that would have state fund party primaries.
The Ministerial Committee on Legislation will vote Sunday on a series of bills with ramifications on diplomatic and political issues and matters of religion and state.

The committee is expected to approve a bill initiated by Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett that could make it practically impossible to divide Jerusalem.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vetoed the proposal last week because it wasn’t coordinated with Jerusalem Affairs Minister Ze’ev Elkin, but they have since worked out their differences.

The legislation would require 80 lawmakers to approve any attempt to retreat from Israeli sovereignty in any part of the capital, blocking what is likely to be a key component of any final-status agreement with the Palestinians.

However, a clause has been added to this bill that takes out its teeth: Allowing neighborhoods to leave the Jerusalem municipality would not require the special majority of 80 MKs.

That means that Arab neighborhoods can be removed from Jerusalem and then become part of a Palestinian state.

Following disputes in the government over conversion, Yesh Atid MK Elazar Stern will raise legislation that would allow local rabbis in Israel to perform conversions outside their region. All the rabbis are Orthodox and it would have no impact on Reform and Conservative rabbis, but Shas and United Torah Judaism oppose the initiative.

“The bill won’t pass even though Bennett and Netanyahu backed it in the past, but I won’t let this issue be forgotten,” Stern said. “There is no good reason for Shas and United Torah Judaism to oppose it. They are making the public hate them.”

The ministers will also vote on a controversial bill proposed by Likud MK David Amsalem that would give state funding to candidates in party primaries for the first time.

There will additionally be a vote on a less controversial measure, submitted by Likud MK Sharren Haskell, that would require the government to communicate with the public by email.
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