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The Purse and the SwordThe Trials of Israel's Legal Revolution$
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Daniel Friedmann

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190278502

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190278502.001.0001

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To Judge But Not to Rule

To Judge But Not to Rule

(p.15) 2 To Judge But Not to Rule
The Purse and the Sword

Daniel Friedmann

Oxford University Press

This chapter describes the history, functions, and notable rulings issued by the Supreme Court of Israel. The Supreme Court, in addition to being the highest appellate court for civil and criminal cases, also serves as the court of original jurisdiction in matters regarding the legality of the actions of the state or other bodies and persons performing public functions. In this capacity, the Supreme Court expanded the protection of human rights in broad areas including freedom of speech and freedom of occupation. Notably, despite their ongoing friction with the Supreme Court and lower courts, the government and the Knesset displayed good judgment when it came to critical issues such as judicial independence, authority, and appointments. For its part, the classic Supreme Court respected the Knesset’s sovereignty and did not hand down rulings that were likely to incur the ire of the other branches of government. The legislative and executive branches almost always respected and acted in accordance with the high court’s decisions. Following the six day war, legal issues relating to the settlements in the areas conquered during the war came to be decided by the Supreme Court.

Keywords:   Israeli Supreme Court, lower courts, Declaration of Independence, State and religion, human rights, who is a Jew, conversion, The Law of Return, Six Day War, Yom Kippur war, Annexation and settlements

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