Bill would require referendum on ceding territory

JERUSALEM (JTA) — A Knesset committee has approved a bill that would require a referendum on any Israeli government decision to give up territory.

The ministerial committee on legislation approved the referendum bill Monday by a vote of 7 to 2.

The bill would require a national referendum if Israel agrees in diplomatic talks to cede land that has been annexed, such as areas of Jerusalem, or areas where Israeli law is in force, such as the Golan Heights. 

Under the bill, the government must first approve the ceding of the territory with at least 60 Knesset members voting in favor before putting it to a referendum within 180 days.

If 80 Knesset members vote in favor of a handover of territory, then a referendum is permissible but not mandatory, according to an amendment to the bill. 

The bill, which was submitted privately three years ago by Knesset House Committee chairman Yariv Levin of Likud, has passed the first of three Knesset readings.
 

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