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Minor changes to the text, including a new section on “Politics and the Judiciary During the Political Crisis of 2019-2020.”

Updated on 8 October 2020. The previous version of this content can be found here.
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date: 04 December 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The contemporary perception of Israel’s judiciary as an independent branch does not coincide with Israel’s first government’s perception after establishing the first Supreme Court. To a great extent the executive branch deemed the court its long arm. Until the mid-1950s judges were appointed by the government, and questions of conflicts of interest and political affiliation—in the wide sense of the term—were not compelling. However, since the 1990s the court’s power of judicial review and the legitimacy of its decisions have become issues of heated public debate. Consequently, the process of appointing justices to the court has become subject to very strict public and political scrutiny. This chapter asks whether the Israeli judiciary truly constitutes a third independent branch of government. This is relevant considering the continuous attempts to change the existing balance of power, aiming to limit the court’s capacity to apply universal judicial doctrines and legal standards to executive and legislative decisions.

Keywords: Israel, judiciary, Constitution, Supreme Court, High Court of Justice, judicial review, Harari Resolution, judicial independence

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