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Orlev. 'Betrayal of Zionism'
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Herzog. Actions louder than words
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Knesset: J'lem not yet 'capital of Jewish people'
MK Zevulun Orlev asks legislative body to anchor eternal capital of Jewish people in law, but Labor party blocks vote. Kadima: Netanyahu flip flopping

A bill that enjoyed wide support under the Olmert administration encountered difficulties in Netanyahu's era. The Knesset plenum was slated to vote Wednesday on a bill drafted by MK Zevulun Orlev (Habayit Hayehudi) that asked that Jerusalem be recognized as the capital of the Jewish people by law and not just as the capital of Israel.

 

The bill was listed on the Knesset agenda distributed at the beginning of the week to be put up for a preliminary reading. However, the bill mysteriously "disappeared" from the revised agenda on Wednesday and ultimately will not be voted on.

 

A similar bill was already passed in a preliminary reading in the previous Knesset with the support of Labor faction members, among others.

 

"Unfortunately," said MK Orlev to Ynet, "the coalition management notified me that because this would represent an amendment to a Basic Law and there are Labor ministers opposed to the bill, we will not be able to vote this week until an attempt to reach an arrangement on the issue."

 

According to him, "This bill is without a doubt part of the government's policy. The prime minister spoke prior to and after the elections on more than one occasion about the importance of Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish people. Here, the coalition is now, unfortunately, dragging its feet all of a sudden."

 

Orlev promised, "I, for my part, commit to find the way to bring the bill to vote in spite of the Labor party. This bill is declarative, yet of the utmost importance in order to sharpen and fix the status of Jerusalem as the eternal capital of the Jewish people."

 

Orlev harshly criticized the Labor party: "This is a betrayal of and turning their back on Zionist values and the path of Ben Gurion who established Jerusalem as the country's capital in opposition to the opinion of the countries of the world."

 

'A cheap shot'

Labor Minister Isaac Herzog said in response, "This is cheap demagoguery. No one will give us grades on love for Jerusalem according to unnecessary talk, but according to actions. Everyone who has eyes in his head and deals today in the political realm understands that these declarations don't have value and only damage Jerusalem's interests.

 

"We are not opposed to the principle – Jerusalem is the capital of the Jewish people and does not need to receive a title (proclaiming as much) in legislation. It is better that the legislators with Jerusalem on their tongues worry about allocating resources to the city. At the current time, as Israel is engaged in a complex and difficult political struggle with those who are trying to attack our holy city of Jerusalem in various ways, there is no need for these declarations, but for actions."

 

MK Ronnie Bar-On (Kadima) said in response, "The Netanyahu government continues to pretend and to flip flop. A bill that enjoys full consensus is pushed aside without any discussion, all in order to satisfy elements in the coalition in the name of holy survival."

 

Aviad Glickman contributed to this report

 

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