The Ministerial Committee on Legislation approved Sunday the final draft of the referendum bill, ahead of its second and third readings by the Knesset.
The bill mandates a referendum and a special majority vote in the Knesset for any government decision involving ceding sovereign Israeli territory in east Jerusalem and the Golan Heights as part of a peace deal.
The bill further states that in the event that such a move is approved by a special majority vote of 80 Knesset members, a referendum will not be necessary.
The current draft includes an amendment requested by Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, stating that any future referendum day would be an official holiday.
"Cementing the referendum bill as a basic law is in line with [provisions made by] a bill approved during the previous government's term. It aims to bolster public unity and ensure that the public rallies behind any decision we make in the future. I am convinced the public will never agree to cede any part of its homeland," MK Yariv Levin (Likud-Beytenu), whose private proposal for legislation mandating a referendum was meshed with the government bill promoting the same goal, said.
Meretz Chairwoman MK Zehava Gal-On criticized the bill, saying, "The government's support of such legislation when Israel is negotiating a peace deal [with the Palestinian Authority] serves as further evidence of the insignificance the Netanyahu-Bennett-Lieberman government lends to the diplomatic process."
Should the bill pass its second and third readings, it would be enacted as Basic Law: Referendum. In the absence of a constitution, the Basic Laws of Israel are meant to regulate key issues pertaining to the formation and role of principal state institutions, the relations between various state authorities and the decision-making process of the governing bodies.