A bill entitled 'United Jerusalem is the Capital of the Jewish Nation' was taken off the Knesset agenda on Wednesday, after a veto in the government from the Labor Party. The government cannot support a bill if any faction within it exercises their veto power.
The bill, proposed by Habayit Hayehudi MK Zevulun Orlev, defines Jerusalem as "the capital of the Jewish people."
Orlev fiercely attacked Labor's move, but Welfare and Social Services Minister Isaac Herzog, however, defended his party's decision, saying that while Labor "loves Jerusalem," the bill "would not serve the interests of Jerusalem and the State of Israel." Herzog stressed the "vast contribution of the Labor Party to the unification of Jerusalem," adding, "actions speak louder than words."
"Every Jew understands that Jerusalem is the capital of the Jewish nation. A legislative move, at this point in time, would likely be misinterpreted," he added.
From Kadima, MK Ronnie Bar-On voiced opposition to the postponement, saying, "[Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu's government continues to pretend and zigzag." In late May, however, Bar-On spoke out against the bill itself, saying, "A Jewish democratic state is something you do, not something you talk about."
When the bill was proposed earlier in the year, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel issued a statement calling it "a draconian initiative which delegitimizes legitimate public debate, and whose goal is to silence free debate on important questions. One hopes that the Knesset will come to its senses and remember that its role is to protect freedom of speech and not trample it."
Rebecca Anna Stoil contributed to this report