(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
A special majority of 80 Knesset members would be needed to divide Jerusalem, according to a bill for a Basic Law submitted on Friday by Education Minister and Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett.
The legislation will be brought to a vote within two weeks in the Ministerial Committee on Legislation, which is headed by Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, Bennett’s party ally. Shaked said in radio interviews that she expected Likud ministers to support the measure.
“Jerusalem is the heart of the Jewish people,” Bennett told the Israel Hayom newspaper. “I see the Trump era as an opportunity to bolster Jerusalem so it will not be possible to divide it again.”
The Bayit Yehudi chairman called the bill a strategic measure and vowed that his party would complete the legislation process before the end of the current Knesset. Opposition leader Isaac Herzog of the Zionist Union sparred with Bennett about the proposal on Twitter.
“Bennett is destroying the chance for peace,” Herzog tweeted. “Whoever presents such baseless initiatives doesn’t really care about Jerusalem but only about destroying the diplomatic process and the chance of guaranteeing a Jewish and democratic Israel.”
Tweeting back, Bennett wrote: “The opposite, Herzog. The only way to real peace is to make clear from the start that Jerusalem is not a subject for negotiation.
This is what the United Jerusalem Bill would do.”
Zionist Union MK Yoel Hasson said Bennett’s bill would make Jerusalem “a bloody, binational city that will eventually be led by a Palestinian mayor.”