Daily Israel Report

G-d Helped Pass the Jerusalem Law, Says MK Cohen

Geula Cohen, who proposed the Jerusalem Law in 1980, says Judea and Samaria Law can be next.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 7/9/2012, 6:25 PM

Geula Cohen
Geula Cohen
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Former Knesset Member Geula Cohen believes that annexing Judea and Samaria is possible, if Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu wills it. Based on her experience, however, she noted that the law can be proposed by an MK and not by Netanyahu himself.

Cohen, a former underground fighter who formed the Tehiya party in 1979, initiated the Jerusalem Basic Law that declared "the complete and unified" Jerusalem to be Israel's capital, in 1980.   

"It was difficult to think, then, that the Jerusalem Law could pass," Cohen recollected. "[Israeli Prime Minister Menachem] Begin and [Egyptian President Anwar] Sadat had an agreement that such a law would only pass if both sides agreed to it, but G-d helped and one day I read in the newspaper that the Egyptian parliament discussed Jerusalem being Palestinian. That contradicted the agreement with Sadat."

"I went to Begin and told him that in that case, we are allowed to do the same thing. Begin said that we wrote and signed that this subject will only pass in agreement. I kept working on the law. I did not think practically and immediately proposed the Jerusalem Law. I remember the jeering there was in the press about me and about the bill. They said that Geula Cohen against wants to tie down and rape the Knesset."

Then-Interior Minister Yosef Burg (NRP) told Cohen the bill's time had not yet come, but Begin was optimistic – and his optimism spurred her to bring the law to a vote, she said.

Leftists Yossi Sarid and Shulamit Aloni (Ratz, later Meretz) left the plenum before the vote, but the entire Likud voted in favor, as did some of the Maarakh (Labor) MKs. The NRP did not take part in the first reading, but voted for the law in the second and third readings.

"There was great happiness in Jerusalem," she recalled. "It's hard to describe. I walked down the street and everyone was happy. There has not been a law that passed with the vote of G-d like this law. Only the finger of G-d did this. It is the finger that voted. Everyone was ashamed to vote against the law. I hardly passed any other law over the years. This is the law for which I spent 20 years in the Knesset."

Cohen's statements were recorded in a message that will be screened at the Sovereignty Conference in Hevron Thursday.