Dec 10, 2009

no referendum

Yesterday the Knesset voted on an adjustment to the Referendum Law regarding the Golan Heights and the requirement to hold a referendum in case the government reaches a peace agreement with Syria.

The vote passed with 68 MKs supporting.

UTJ split their vote, though their votes were not needed in the end. Aguda voted with the coalition in favor of the referendum law. Degel abstained and left the plenum.

Degel has always opposed establishing referendums. UTJ always has as whole, and Aguda has not yet explained why they broke ranks from their longstanding position, but Degel voted in line with the longtime UTJ position to vote against establishing referendums.

One would ask why oppose a referendum, as it is mostly a good thing, especially when you dont necessarily trust the government with too much leeway and when they frequently go against the wishes of the people who voted them into power.. Really the election itself is a referendum, and if we put someone in power, it is with the approval to make decisions. When a government goes against the wishes of the voters who put them into power, the referendum is a tool that can keep them somewhat in check.

So why oppose the possibility of a referendum?

Degel says the reason they have always opposed any suggestion of a referendum is because the fallout of introducing referendums will lead to a referendum one day being brought about the yeshivas. One day someone will propose a referendum on continuing the army exemptions (deferments) for yeshiva bochurim, or for yeshiva funding, or the like. It is basically a breach in the status quo, and gives the people too much power to breach societal norms.


  1. Still hard to understand. A referendum makes harder to change the status-quo, not easier. It puts another block between a Knesset law and its enactment.

  2. I disagree. I think that if a referendum were held today, the results would clearly be against a Yeshiva exemption. Even 2/3 might be opposed.

    OTOH, in the Kneseet, the Chareidi parties have more power than their numbers (relative to population) would imply.

    For that matter, most small parties do.

  3. Mikeage, so what? A referendum would only happen if the Knesset wanted it, and if the Knesset wanted to draft Yeshiva students, they could do it without a referendum as well.

  4. "to breach societal-norms", That is, a referendum allows the majority who define societal-norms to enforce those norms on the minority.

    What they should have said is that a referendum enables the dictatorship of the majority which might go against the minority chareidi position.

  5. So Degel. The hell with everything else as long as we get our yeshiva funding, army ptur and busing for chadarim. We'd be better off under the Turks, they say!


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