Labor Blocks Jerusalem Bill

A Jewish Home MK proposed a bill declaring Jerusalem the capital of Israel and the Jewish People. Labor forced him to withdraw the proposal.

Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu, | updated: 15:55

Flag waving in the Jewish capital
Flag waving in the Jewish capital
Israel news photo: Flash 90

The Labor party, using its power as a government coalition partner, blocked an attempt by Jewish Home Knesset Member Zevulun Orlev to bring to first reading a bill aimed at strengthening the status of Jerusalem.

His proposal, which requires a change in the Basic Law, declares the city to be the “Capital of Israel and the Jewish People” and was designed to strengthen ties with the Diaspora. The bill would also make it more difficult to surrender parts of the city to foreign rule.

However, it was not clear that Labor MKs would back the proposal, and the party exercised its veto power. The coalition agreement states that any change in the Basic Law must have the agreement of all partners in the government. The Jewish Home’s three MKs are also coalition members. 

MK Orlev expressed his disappointment at Labor's “cynical” move. He charged that the party is a “traitor to its own values." The veto by Labor was all the more surprising to MK Orlev because the request to place the measure for a vote came from Prof. Shimon Sheetrit, a veteran and senior Labor party member.

Welfare Minister Yitzchak Herzog, a senior Labor minister, said the party “loves” Jerusalem but that the proposed law could be misinterpreted and damage the country.