Israel Prize Laureate Geula Cohen shares her experiences and her determined struggle for the Jerusalem Bill as the background and encourages the renewed struggle for the application of Israeli sovereignty over Judea and Samaria.
“If Bibi [Netanyahu] wants it to, it will pass”, states Israel Prize Laureate, former MK Geula Cohen, in reference to the Application of Sovereignty over Judea and Samaria Bill.
Geula Cohen makes these statements in preparation for the Second Conference for the Application of Sovereignty over Judea and Samaria, scheduled to take place this coming Thursday in Hebron. In preparation for the event Cohen was asked to share the political moves that preceded the successful passing of the Sovereignty over Jerusalem Bill, a bill she initiated and led in her days as a Member of Knesset.
Geula Cohen shares the feelings during the days that preceded passing the bill, the concerns regarding the isolation of Israel in the international arena in the eventuality that the bill. “The battles began that instant, embassies transferred to Tel Aviv… Sarid spoke of the sun that wouldn’t rise again… But the sun rose, and the embassies began to return to Jerusalem”.
It was difficult to think that we could pass the Jerusalem Bill back then. Begin and Sadat had an agreement that such a bill would only be passed consensually, but G-d ‘stepped in’ and one day I read in the papers that the Egyptian Parliament was discussing Jerusalem being Palestinian. That contradicted the agreement with Sadat. I went to Begin and told him that in that case, we can do the same. Begin said we had written and signed the matter would only be raised with Egyptian consent. So I continued to work on the bill”.
I wasn’t thinking practically and immediately submitted the Jerusalem Bill. I recall how the press made a mockery of me and the bill. They were saying that Geula Cohen is once again trying to impose and rape the Knesset”.
Cohen continues and tells us of her appeal to the late Yosef Burg, then Minister of Interior, and his response that the time for the bill will come, a response she refused to accept. Begin on the other hand expressed optimism. “His optimism was enough to drive me to rush and submit the bill”.
Those days Sadat’s envoy was visiting in Jerusalem and when he visited at the Temple Mound, Geula Cohen accompanied him and photographed him as he knelt and bowed with his backside towards the Temple Mount, as did the rest of the Muslim worshipers that were attending the event. Cohen distributed the photo all over the world with the caption ‘Even the Temple Mound turns it’s back on the Muslims’…
Cohen continues and tells of her Sisyphean struggle against the Israeli and international media, while continuing with the political battle to promote the proposed bill, right up to the day when she informed the Chairman of the Knesset of her intent to bring the proposed bill to vote. The Chairman asked if she made sure she has enough votes to support the bill. In response she said that she doesn’t believe there would be any MKs that would vote against Jerusalem.
Left Wingers Yossi Sarid and Shulamit Aloni were absent from the vote, Menahem Begin, Prime Minister in those days, arrived to the assembly hall with a broken leg to vote, the entire Likud party voted in favor along with several members of the Ma’a’rakh party. The members of the Mafdal party, on the other hand, did not vote in favor, a move they regretted and therefore promised Cohen that they would vote in favor in the second and third callings of the bill.
“There was much joy in Jerusalem. It’s difficult to describe. I was walking down the street and everyone was happy”, Geula Cohen shares her elevated spirits on that great and historic day.
“There has never been a bill that passed with G-d’s vote like this one. Only G-d’s finger could do this. That was the finger that voted. Everyone was ashamed to vote against. I had next to nothing to do with initiating any additional bill for all those years. It was as though I had been in Knesset for twenty years just for that bill”.
As for the initiative that is the basis for the Sovereignty Conference due to be held on Thursday in Hebron, Geula Cohen says that “any bill that pertains to E’retz Yisra’el, each and every day is the right time for it, especially basic core bills like the Jerusalem Bill and the Sovereignty over Judea and Samaria bill”.
“The fact that such a bill has not been made law is misleading. We mislead the Palestinians by making them believe that one day there will be a Palestinian state here. We wrong them, for there will never be a Palestinian state here”, states Cohen .
Geula Cohen adds on and estimates that an initiative to apply sovereignty needs to come from within the ranks of MKs and not necessarily from the Prime Minister. “Bibi won’t initiate it. Begin wasn’t the initiator either, but if awareness and public discourse rise, as Yehudit Katsover and Nadia Matar are trying to do, meaning that the matter will settle in our minds and thoughts as attainable, then the ‘Bibi’ will be found”, in her words.
“I am certain that the issue of a Palestinian state is slowly being taken off the table in light of recent events in the region. It has to do with the fact that the matter of applying sovereignty over Judea and Samaria will become increasing relevant and brought repeatedly to the table.
The Rabbis have a decisive role to play, seeing as the matter is related to Ha’la’kha and the Sources. If they join in and help facilitate this move it will help things a lot. After all, this is a part of G-d’s promise to Abraham. It isn’t just another settlement or community, but seeing the whole big picture”.
Geula Cohen’s speech will be presented by video at the Second Conference for the Application of Israeli Sovereignty over Judea and Samaria that is due to be held on Thursday, 22nd of Tamuz (12/7/12) in Hebron. During the event, orchestrated by Women in Green heads Yehudit Katsover and Nadia Matar, co-sponsored by “Just Peace for Israel”, the list of speakers will include the Minister of Science, Rabbi Prof. Daniel Hershkovitz, MK Uri Ariel, MK Tzipi Hotobeli, Gershon Masika, Yoram Etinger, Rabbi Uzi Sharbaf, Emanuel Shilo, Eran Bar Tal, Adv. Dafna Netanyahu, Adv. Howard Griff, Adv. Itzik Bam and Caroline Glick.
For details and registration: Yehudit Katsover 050-7161818 Nadia Matar 050-5500834
for the full program: http://www.womeningreen.org/2ndConvention.php
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Source: Women in Green
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