Bennett still hopes to pass referendum bill

Despite lack of support from Yesh Atid, Bennett tells 'Post' he will continue pushing to upgrade bill to Basic Law.

By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN,
May 8, 2013 02:23
1 minute read.
Economics and Trade Minister Naftali Bennett arriving for cabinet meeting, April 28, 2013.

Naftali Bennett at cabinet meeting 370. (photo credit: Alex Kolomoisky/Pool/Yediot Aharonot)

 
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Bayit Yehudi head Naftali Bennett has not given up hope on passing a bill that would grant constitutional weight to the legal requirement for a referendum before giving up land under Israeli sovereignty, Bennett said Tuesday in an interview with The Jerusalem Post that will be published in the newspaper’s Shavuot supplement.

Bayit Yehudi suffered a political setback on Monday when Yesh Atid decided not to support the immediate passage of a bill that would upgrade the referendum requirement to the status of a Basic Law. Without the backing of Yesh Atid there is no majority for the bill, even though it has the support of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

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Under the law Bayit Yehudi hoped to upgrade – which was passed by the 18th Knesset – either a special majority or a national referendum would be required in order to hand over annexed territories or land in pre-1967 Israel in the framework of a peace agreement.

“I hope we succeed in getting it through,” Bennett said. “Requiring a referendum fits with our goal of minimizing the arguments inside Israeli society and the government. I think we can have disagreements but live with them.”

Bennett said he had given a lot of thought to the purpose and concept of a referendum and determined that it would be very important on an issue as important as withdrawing from land. He said that the Oslo II agreement passed by a single vote – that of an MK who shifted to the Left from the Right in return for his appointment as a deputy minister.

“I think it would be a disaster to have a Palestinian state in the heart of Israel, while other coalition parties disagree,” the Bayit Yehudi chairman said. “A referendum is the way to deal with that.”

Yesh Atid officials said their decision to not back the bill was technical – should a diplomatic process with the Palestinians begin, the faction would reconsider supporting it.

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