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The government has adopted a non-committal stand with regard to the controversial draft bill affirming united Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The measure, submitted to the Knesset last May by Geula Cohen of the ultra nationalist Tehiya faction, is scheduled for its first reading July 23. Interior Minister Yosef Burg refused to take a position on the bill when he appeared before the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Security Committee Monday. Asked by Labor Party leader Shimon Peres precisely where the government stands, Burg said he would advise Knesset members to vote “according to your conscience and your common sense.” Knesset sources were uncertain Monday whether the bill would go through the required there readings before the Knesset adjourns for its summer recess at the end of this month. The Speaker’s office has stressed that the measure is being processed the same way as any other pending legislation.

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