Golan referendum bill advances

Sources say legislation won’t reach Knesset plenum for months. Although the Knesset House Committee advanced a bill that would limit the prime minister’s options during any future negotiations on Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, sources close to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Wednesday that it would be months before the bill came to a final vote on the Knesset floor.

The House Committee voted 6-2 in favor of the Golan Heights and Jerusalem national referendum bill, despite the Prime Minister’s Office’s staunch opposition to the legislation. It now goes to the Knesset for its second and third readings.

The bill would require a national referendum in any instance in which Israel agreed in diplomatic talks to hand over areas annexed by Israel. Both the Golan Heights and parts of municipal Jerusalem located beyond the Green Line have been annexed.

Under to the law, any such deal must first be approved by the Knesset; if it passes, it must be put to a national referendum within 180 days.

“This is a law of supreme national importance to maintain the unity of the state, a law that has won support across parties and political camps,” said House Committee Chairman MK Yariv Levin (Likud), who chaired the special committee tasked with preparing the bill for its second and third readings.

“This law will require all leaders of Israel to arrive at agreements that are good for Israel, acceptable to the general public, and will maintain our rights in the Land of Israel.”

The bill tasks the Central Elections Committee with running any future referendum, and would declare any referendum day to be equivalent to an election day.

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