Knesset plenum approves bill requiring public's approval for any withdrawal from Golan Heights or east Jerusalem. Sixty-five MKs vote in favor while 33 oppose.
After many hours of debates and political drama the Knesset approved in second and third readings the referendum law which requires a public majority and the votes of 60 Knesset members ahead of any withdrawal from the Golan Heights or east Jerusalem. Sixty-five MKs voted in favor of the bill and 33 opposed.
Among the MKs who voted in favor of the bill, 26 were from the Likud, seven from the National Union and Habayit Hayehudi, 11 from Shas, 13 from Yisrael Beiteinu, Minister Shalom Simhon and Matan Vilani from the Labor, and three MKs from the United Torah Judaism. Labor ministers Ehud Barak, Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, Avishai Braverman and Yitzhak Herzog did not attend the vote.
Five Labor MKs voted against the bill as well as members of Meretz and the Arab factions.
Earlier on Monday, the Kadima faction decided that its MKs would either vote against the bill or be absent from the plenum. Three Kadima MKs, Otniel Schneller, Robert Tibayev and Eli Aflalo deliberated whether to follow the faction's decision and oppose the bill or not attend the vote until the very last moment. Schneller and Aflalo ended up violating the Kadima decision and voting in favor of the initiative.
Among the opposers were Kadima's Tzipi Livni, Dalia Itzik, Avi Dichter, Meir Sheetrit and Yoel Hasson. MKs Shaul Mofaz, Ronit Tirosh and Ruhama Avraham-Balila did not attend the vote.
Also Monday, Mofaz told Ynet he opposed the Kadima decision to vote against the bill and explained why he supports the initiative. A referendum, he said, was "a democratic tool which allows social involvement and helps unity." He also noted that a public-endorsed decision bolsters leadership.
by Ynet News
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