Land transfer bill passes 1st reading

Bill would block Golan transfer; bill obliging MKs pledge loyalty also passes.

avigdor yitzhaki 298 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
avigdor yitzhaki 298
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
The Knesset plenum passed two controversial bills in their preliminary readings Wednesday; the first bill concerns the requirement of a referendum in the case of the transfer of sovereign land to a foreign government and he second may change the vows incoming Knesset members must take. MK Avigdor Yitzhaki (Kadima) proposed the bill several weeks ago, despite the government's opposition. If passed, the bill could make it virtually impossible to give away the Golan Heights. Yitzhaki stepped down as coalition chairman after Prime Minister Ehud Olmert failed to give in to his demands to resign. He insisted that the prime minister leave his post after the release of the Winograd Committee's interim report into the Second Lebanon War two weeks ago. Another bill would force incoming members of the Knesset to pledge allegiance to Israel. The bill calls for new MK to swear they will remain loyal to the "state of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, and remain true to its values." The bills, proposed by MKs David Rotem (Israel Beitenu) and Zevulun Orlev (NU-NRP), are intended to prevent MKs from acting against the state and its institutions, and come shortly after the publicized case against former MK Azmi Bishara, who is accused of aiding the enemy during a time of war, among other allegations. Both bills, which have yet to be reviewed at the House Committee, are unlikely to pass in their second and third readings, sources said. Much of the coalition was absent during the votes thereby giving the opposition majority. Sheera Claire Frenkel, Dan Izenberg and Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report.