(photo credit: AP [file])
The Hebrew media were in a flurry on Thursday, with reports in certain quarters that President Moshe Katsav had advocated a referendum prior to the implementation of the convergence plan.
On Thursday evening, Katsav's spokeswoman Hagit Cohen categorically denied that he had made a statement linking convergence with a referendum.
Some 15 months ago, when interviewed on Israel Radio about whether there should be a referendum prior to the disengagement from the Gaza Strip, Katsav had been careful not to violate his apolitical role by expressing his personal opinion.
However he did state that a referendum would not undermine the authority of the Knesset, because only the Knesset could decide on the holding of a referendum.
Yet a year before that, Katsav had told reporters that he supported a referendum.
"If the political leadership cannot make a decision in a more democratic manner, it might broaden the rifts in Israeli society," he said. "A referendum is a good tool to measure the true will of the people."
Prior to the elections earlier this year, Katsav said that their outcome would be tantamount to a referendum.