Opposition bill to force ministers to vote on Bar-Ilan Speech

Zionist Union MKs propose to reduce waiting period for senior officers running for Knesset and ban parties with no women from running.

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October 15, 2015 19:06
3 minute read.
The Knesset

The Knesset. (photo credit: KNESSET SPOKESMAN'S OFFICE)

 
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New legislation by MK Yoel Hasson (Zionist Union) may create an awkward situation for the Ministerial Committee for Legislation on Sunday, as it calls to implement the ideas in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s 2009 Bar-Ilan speech, calling for a two-state solution with a demilitarized Palestinian state.

Sunday’s vote on the bill to implement the principles of the Bar-Ilan speech is the first time the speech will be brought to a vote in the Knesset or cabinet. The bill is unlikely to be approved by the ministers.

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Ahead of this year’s election, Netanyahu said that there will not be a Palestinian state based on pre-1967 lines under his watch, but in his speech to the UN General Assembly last month, he repeated that there should be a demilitarized Palestinian state.

Much of Netanyahu’s Likud party opposes a two-state solution, as does Bayit Yehudi, and it is not part of the coalition’s guidelines.

Hasson’s bill calls for the establishment of a “Bar-Ilan Principals Implementation Directorate” within a year-and-a-half of the law passing, that would be responsible for “separating from the demilitarized Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria,” including setting a schedule for it to happen, coordinating the work of government ministries and preparing strategic plans for the future.

“In recent weeks, Israeli citizens realized Netanyahu’s diplomatic failure,” Hasson said. “The Netanyahu government’s ignoring the Palestinian issue pushed us into a corner, and now we must work quickly to establish a separate Palestinian state from Israel. That is first and foremost in Israel’s interest.”

According to Hasson, separating from the Palestinians is the only way to ensure Israel remains a Jewish and democratic state.



When the bill is brought to a preliminary Knesset vote on Wednesday, “the prime minister and the members of his coalition will have to decide for the first time in the Knesset: Do they want to protect Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, or do they want to turn Israel into a binational state with a Palestinian majority, which will erase Israel’s Jewish character?” Also Sunday, the Ministerial Committee for Legislation is to vote on two bills involving who may or may not run in an election.

The first is a proposal by MK Eyal Ben-Reuven (Zionist Union) to reduce the waiting period between serving in a senior security position and running for office from three years to 18 months.

Ben-Reuven, a retired major-general who served in the IDF for 35 years, explained that the current law essentially requires senior IDF officers to leave public service for several years before returning to it. He pointed out that the retirement age for career officers is higher than it used to be, which means they’ll be older when they run for politics.

“This bill balances the concern over foreign political influences on senior officers before they retire, with the basic right of every citizen to enter the political arena and exercise his or her ability to represent the public as an MK or minister,” he said.

MK Ksenia Svetlova proposed that parties that do not have both genders represented on their list for the Knesset be banned from running.

“It cannot be that in the home of Israeli democracy, there are parties that do not allow women to run and influence,” she said.

Svetlova posited that the Knesset would set an example for other areas of life if it passes the law.

Shas and United Torah Judaism, who do not have women on their lists, are likely to veto the bill.The Zionist Union MK said she tried to get signatures from all 31 female MKs, but many were concerned about upsetting the ultra-Orthodox parties.

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