MK Gafni: No Referendum on Golan, by Hillel Fendel (Israel National News)
MK Gafni’s attempt to nix a mandated by law referendum vote should the regime act to “dis-engage” from the Golan, yet another part of Eretz Yisrael, brings streaming back all of the pain of the Gush Katif expulsion. This author feels too much pain to write now about this case of lessons unlearned by Gimmel — again and again and again.
Gafni’s actions prove his hypocrisy — give away Our Land, Our Heritage because of worry of a referrendum on Chareidim in the military just as he sold out Gush katif and it’s Jews for the almighty $$ dollar. MB
MK Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism) has volunteered to begin an anti-referendum campaign on the Golan front. Gafni says that, contrary to existing law, no referendum should be required in the event the government decides to withdraw from the Golan Heights.
He and other hareidi-religious MKs are apparently concerned that if a national referendum is ever held on a national issue, one might also be held regarding the drafting of yeshiva students. It is widely presumed that this explained the objections of most hareidi MKs to holding a referendum regarding the Disengagement two years ago.
Two hareidi MKs – Avraham Ravitz (UTJ) and Nissim Ze’ev (Shas) – did express support for a referendum regarding the expulsion, as did Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, the spiritual leader of one of the factions of United Torah Judaism. However, as then-Likud Central Committee head MK Tzachi HaNegbi said following a Knesset vote on the matter, “I don’t see the point in discussing a referendum, since we saw yesterday that there is no majority in the Knesset for it. This is because some of the parties that object to the disengagement are against a referendum, such as United Torah Judaism and Shas; they fear that once a referendum is held, it is liable to be held on other issues that concern them.”
The Golan Heights area was annexed to Israel in 1981. In early 1999, the Knesset voted that no part of the Golan or Jerusalem may be transferred to a foreign power without an absolute majority of 61 Knesset Members and a popular referendum.
MK Gafni has now submitted a proposal to repeal the “referendum” requirement.
Talk of ceding the Golan to Syria, which heated up in the mid-to-late 1990s, died down when it became clear that the public was strongly against it. The issue is now approaching the fore once again: some experts warn of possible war with Syria in the near future, while left-wing politicians have said that Israel should negotiate with President Assad and consider giving up the Golan.
At the same time, an overwhelming 69 MKs (out of 120) have signed on a bill proposed by three Kadima Party MKs that would require a referendum in the event that the government wishes to give up the State of Israel’s control over any part of the country.
Gafni explained, “The requirement for a referendum is undesirable, because it bypasses the democratic institutions and negates the system of rule that is accepted here, according to which decisions are made by the elected institutions. Individuals can influence via general elections to the Knesset. The governmental organs have the ability to discern the good of the nation and state in its entirety, while citizens are liable to have a more narrow range of vision. For instance, if there would be a referendum on whether to do away with income tax, it is likely that the majority would support such a move, without considering the fact that this would empty the state coffers.”