Updated November 2007. The viewpoints contained in this guide are those of the author and are not to be attributed to the Law Library of Congress.
Table of Contents
- THE ISRAELI LEGAL SYSTEM - INTRODUCTION
- CHIEF CHARACTERISTICS OF THE SYSTEM
- The Absence of a Single-Document Written Constitution
- Supremacy of the Law
- Central Status for the Judiciary
- The State as both Jewish and Democratic
- Limited Applicability of Religious law
- THE COURT SYSTEM AND STRUCTURE
- THE LEGAL PROFESSION
- OFFICIAL STATUTORY AND REGULATORY SOURCES
- UNOFFICIAL TRANSLATION OF STATUTORY AND REGULATORY SOURCES
- MAJOR COMPILATIONS
- CASE REPORTS
- LEGAL COMMENTARIES
- LAW JOURNALS
- LEGAL DATABASES
THE ISRAELI LEGAL SYSTEM - INTRODUCTION
The State of Israel is a Western-style modern democracy located in the Middle East in part on the land of the Bible, the traditional home of the Jewish people. The reborn modern state was established on May, 14, 1948, as a national home for the Jewish people. Statehood was recognized as a possible solution to the problem of homelessness following the massacre of million of Jews in the Holocaust in Europe.
Israel has held a parliamentary system since its establishment and except for a brief period of experimentation with a dual election system of direct election of the Prime Minister separate from that of the Knesset (Parliament), it has maintained a system of single general elections to be held once every four years. Following elections the President assigns the task of forming a government to a Knesset Member who has notified him that he is prepared to do so; usually, the head of the political party that won the most seats in the 120 Member Knesset and who was able to reach agreements with smaller parties to establish a coalition government. Unlike the Prime Minister who serves as the head of the executive branch, the President of the State has mainly ceremonial status as the head of state and is elected by the Knesset for a seven year term which cannot be extended.
The Israeli legal system, although Western in culture, belongs neither to the common law nor to the civil law families of legal systems. Rather it is characterized as belonging to the family of mixed jurisdictions. The history of Israel explains the reasons for the hybrid nature of the system.
For approximately four centuries, until the end of the First World War, the area now constituting Israel was part of the Ottoman Empire. During this period the law of the land was a mixture of traditional Islamic law and modern European laws (German, French, and Swiss) adopted by the Ottomans mainly from the beginning of the last century. Following the defeat of the Ottoman Empire a British Mandate was established according to a resolution of the League of Nations. The Mandatory government retained the pre-existing law and gradually replaced it with legislation supplemented by English principles of common law and equity. While most areas of law have been Anglicized, the British kept intact the Ottoman system of family law which authorized religious courts of the different religious communities to administer their specific laws over members of these communities.
Following the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 pre-existing law was gradually replaced by new legislation enacted by the Knesset, as well as by decisions of the Supreme Court. These developments have completely transformed the legal system into a modern and sophisticated system that incorporates elements from both common law as well as from civil law as imported by the people involved in the legal development, many of whom received their legal education in continental Europe.
Israel's domestic law applies within the borders established by the 1949 Armistice Agreements entered between Israel and its neighbours (Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria) after the 1948 Arab-Israeli War (Israel's War of Independence). In addition, Israel has extended its jurisdiction to two areas it captured in the 1967 Six Days War. Israel formally annexed eastern Jerusalem based on the 1980 Basic Law: Jerusalem, the Capital of Israel. Israel also annexed the Golan Heights based on the Golan Heights Law, 5742-1981. The West Bank and the Gaza Strip, similarly captured in the 1967 war, have never been legally annexed. As a consequence of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) redeployment from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in accordance with the 1993 and 1995 Oslo Accords between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization and Israel's unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in the summer of 2005, the Gaza Strip and large areas in the West Bank are currently under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority.
In accordance with international law, territories that are outside Israel's jurisdiction but are under its military control are governed by the law of belligerent occupation. In accordance with IDF orders, as well as rules of public customary international law, the law that governed such territories prior to their occupation by Israeli forces continued to apply subject to some changes necessitated by the military occupation. Based on the above, the Jordanian law that was applicable prior to the 1967 War should generally continue to apply in the West Bank. A recent precedent decision by an extended bench of the Supreme Court, however, extended the application of Israeli domestic labor laws to specific legal transactions. This decision involved contracts between Israeli employers and Palestinian employees even when the place of employment was the West Bank. In the absence of a clear expressed agreement between the parties regarding the choice of law, the Court held that the law of the country most connected to the transaction should take priority.
As a rule Israeli law applies to actions of persons acting on behalf of the State, including its military personnel, anywhere they are situated. Therefore, in spite of the lack of territorial jurisdiction over the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, the Israeli Supreme Court has exercised its jurisdiction in entertaining claims submitted by residents of these territories against actions of Israeli military personnel and other State officials.
CHIEF CHARACTERISTICS OF THE SYSTEM
The Absence of a Single-Document Written Constitution
The Israeli Declaration of Independence, issued on May 14, 1948 following the termination of the British mandate over Palestine, envisioned the existence of a future formal constitution for Israel. The declaration, however, has never been viewed itself as a constitutional document. It was interpreted by the Supreme Court to be a document incorporating the wishes and the intent of the founding fathers of the reborn state. As such, it did not grant the judiciary the power of striking down legislation which clearly negates its content. However, if legislation may be interpreted in several ways, the Court holds that laws should be interpreted in a way consistent with the principles expressed in the Declaration. Utilizing the latter method, the Israeli Supreme Court, sitting as a high court of justice, has managed to develop fundamental constitutional principles that in other Western democracies are protected by constitutions.
By virtue of the Harrari Resolution of 1950, the Knesset agreed that the Israeli constitution be composed of separate chapters, each called a Basic law. Eleven Basic laws have been passed concerning: The Knesset, Israel Lands, the President of the State, the Government, the State Economy, the Army, Jerusalem Capital of Israel, the Judiciary, the State Comptroller, Human Dignity and Freedom, and Freedom of Occupation. Although there were different views regarding the constitutional status of separate Basic laws, the accepted view prior to 1992, was that only the incorporation of all Basic laws into a single-document constitution would result in a higher normative status. In a 1995 landmark case (Bank Hamizrahi Hameuchad Ltd. et al v. Migdal Kfar shitufi) Israel's Supreme Court recognized that even before the completion of a single-document constitution two Basic laws: Basic Law: Human Dignity and Freedom and Basic Law: Freedom of Occupation were of a higher normative status. The determination that the Court was empowered to strike down legislation under the conditions enumerated in these Basic laws is a subject of public debate.
Supremacy of the Law
Most areas of Israeli law are codified. Legislation in Israel does not supplement case law. On the contrary, it is the basis of the system. It not only regulates the problems it addresses, but also forms a source for the creation of new norms by way of analogy. Subject to the two 1992 Basic laws discussed above, legislation passed by the Knesset holds the highest normative status.
Central Status for the Judiciary
The Israeli judiciary enjoys wide judicial discretion and judicial power to create case law. According to the principle of stare decisis as practiced in Israel, a rule laid down by a court will guide any lower court, and the Supreme Court is not bound by its own decisions. The Israeli courts do not use the jury system. All questions of fact and law are determined by the judge or the judges of the court concerned, and the system adheres to the principle of innocence until proven guilty. The Supreme Court, sitting as a high court of justice, enjoys a special status and influence.
The State as both Jewish and Democratic
The State of Israel is described in the Declaration of Independence as both a Jewish State and a democracy which will respect human rights. The concept of being both Jewish and democratic is reinforced in Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty and in Basic Law: Freedom of Occupation (1994).
Although not manifested by full application of Jewish law, the Jewishness of the state nevertheless is expressed by certain legislation and case law. For example, the Law of Return, 1950, provides for the right of every Jew to immigrate to Israel and acquire Israeli citizenship in accordance to the Nationality Law, 1952. In addition, Foundation of Law, 5740-1980 provides that if the court finds no answer to a legal question in statutory law, case law, or by analogy, it shall decide it in the light of the principles of freedom, justice, equity, and peace of Israel's heritage. The reference to Israel's heritage rather than to Jewish law was interpreted as an instruction to the judge to apply general universal principles such as freedom, justice, equity, and peace, which the Jewish tradition contributed to the world.
Limited Applicability of Religious law
Upon its establishment in 1948 Israel has left the preexisting law of family relations virtually untouched. Thus, religious law (such as Jewish, Moslem, or Christian) applies as a source of law in matters relating to marriage and divorce, litigated before religious courts. Such application is subject to the law of the land and to the supervision of the Supreme Court.
THE COURT SYSTEM AND STRUCTURE
The Israeli court system is composed of a general court system and a number of specialized courts. The independence of the judiciary is guaranteed under Basic Law: Judicature.
I. The General Court System
The general court system is comprised of three types: magistrates' courts, district courts, and the Supreme Court. In addition to its role as the highest court of appeal, the Supreme Court sitting as a high court of justice has original authority to adjudicate all administrative matters excluding those specifically assigned to the district courts sitting as courts for administrative matters in accordance with the Administrative Matters' Courts Law, 5760-2000.
Special courts, such as the labor courts, military justice courts, and religious courts have special jurisdiction in relevant restricted areas. Decisions of the appellate tribunals of these courts are subject to a limited review by the Supreme Court sitting as a high court of justice.
Geographically, jurisdiction is divided among six judicial districts: Jerusalem, Tel-Aviv, Haifa, Beer-Sheva, Nazareth, and the recently established district court in Petah-Tikva. Magistrates and district courts have jurisdiction throughout their respective areas or districts where these courts sit. The Supreme Court's jurisdiction extends over the entire country. Actions that do not fall within the jurisdiction of any of the geographical districts are heard in the District Court of Jerusalem.
The Supreme Court sits in Jerusalem and currently has fourteen judges and a registrar. It normally sits as a bench of three judges, except when the President or the Deputy-President directs a bigger bench, or in further hearings (on matters it has already adjudicated). Petitions for temporary orders and other interlocutory decisions and certain other proceedings are heard by one judge.
Except for original jurisdiction in a specifically enumerated list of administrative matters, district courts enjoy residual jurisdiction over all criminal and civil matters that do not fall within the jurisdiction of the magistrates' courts, and general residual jurisdiction to hear any matter that is not under the exclusive jurisdiction of any other court or tribunal. A district court bench is generally composed of one judge in regular matters and three in cases involving serious offenses, appeals over non interlocutory decisions rendered by a single judge, or when specifically directed by the president or vice-president of the district court.
Magistrates' courts have original jurisdiction in criminal matters over most offenses carrying a maximum punishment of seven years. The jurisdiction of magistrates' courts in civil matters generally depends upon the monetary value of the claim. Certain magistrates' courts may be authorized by a decree to serve as special tribunals, such as a family court or juvenile court.
A magistrates' court normally sits as a bench of one judge, except that the judge hearing the case or the president of the magistrates' court may direct that the case be heard by three judges. A magistrates' court may be authorized by the Minister of Justice to sit as a small claims court. A claim before the latter is always heard by a single judge.
II. Special Courts
Special courts include the labor courts, the traffic courts, the military courts, and the religious courts.
The Labor Court system
The Labor Court system consists of regional courts and the National Court. A regional court has jurisdiction over matters concerning labor and employment relations, actions in tort concerning labor law, specific collective agreements, benefit funds, memberships in labor organizations, certain social security matters, and labor-related offenses. The National Labor Court has exclusive jurisdiction over matters arising from general collective agreements, disputes between labor organizations, and appeals as of right on decisions of the regional courts.
The Military Courts
The military courts are geographically divided into six districts: North, Center, and South, Air, Sea and General Headquarters. They consist of District Court Martial, Naval Court Martial, Field Court Martial, Special Court Martial and Traffic Court Martial. The decisions of all the courts are subject to review by appeal to the Appeals Court Martial. Personal jurisdiction for the courts martial extends to all military personnel and prisoners of war. Substantive jurisdiction extends to all military offenses. In addition, there are Courts Martial in the Occupied Territories under orders of the Military Commander of the Territories and the Courts Martial under the Defense (Emergency) Regulations 1945.
The Religious Court system
The religious court system was established mainly by the Palestine Order-in-Council 1922-1947, sections 47, 51-56. Following the establishment of the State of Israel, specific laws were enacted for some of the recognized religious communities, including the Moslems, the Druze, the Jews, and the Christian communities. The religious court system is financed by the State. The jurisdiction of the Rabbinical courts is restricted to matters of marriage and divorce concerning Jewish Israeli citizens or Jewish residents in Israel. In other personal matters, the Rabbinicalcourts can accept jurisdiction with consent of both parties. The jurisdiction for the Sharia (Moslem) courts is broader in scope in that it encompasses all personal status matters, not merely marriage and divorce. The Christian and the Druze religious courts have jurisdiction similar to that of the Rabbinicalcourts.
THE LEGAL PROFESSION
The legal profession is composed primarily of lawyers and judges. To be able to practice law in the State of Israel, a person should be a member of the Chamber of Advocates. To be admitted, the person has to be an Israeli resident who reached the age of majority (eighteen) and have graduated from a recognized Israeli university law school, another law institute recognized for this purpose by a special committee nominated by the Minister of Justice, or a recognized foreign law institution. The requirement for a high legal education may also be met if the person has been admitted to a foreign Bar and practiced abroad for at least two years. In addition, a candidate for membership at the Chamber of Advocates must have gone through a certain period of internship (currently twelve months), and pass the examinations of the Chamber. Membership will expire if the member notified the Bar in writing that he is relinquishing his membership, if he ceased to be an Israeli resident, declared bankruptcy, or was sentenced by the Bar tribunal for disciplinary actions for removal from the Bar.
Members of the Chamber of Advocates in good standing who practiced law as attorneys or as judges for at least ten years, with a minimum of five and a half or two years at least in Israel, depending on the time of the application, may be granted a notary license by a Licensing Committee. The latter is chaired by a state attorney and composed of seven members appointed by the Minister of Justice and including two members who were recommended by the Chamber of Advocates, at least two representatives of the public, and at least one a notary. A notary is authorized to draw up, authenticate, and certify official documents.
Judges of the general court system are required to be Israeli citizens, and members or qualified to be members of the Chamber of Advocates with a defined period of practice as lawyers, judges, jurists, or professors of law; five years for a magistrates' court judge; seven years or four as the latter for a District Court Judge; and five years practice as the latter or ten years of non-judicial practice for a Supreme Court judge.
Judges are appointed by the President of the State upon election by a Judges' Election Committee. The Committee consists of nine members, including the President of the Supreme Court, two other judges of the Supreme Court elected by the body of judges, the Minister of Justice, and another Minister designated by the Government, two members of the Knesset elected by the Knesset, and two representatives of the Chamber of Advocates elected by the National Council of the Chamber. The Committee is chaired by the Minister of Justice. A 2007 amendment introduced significant restrictions on the process of judicial appointment, particularly that of court presidents. The tenure of the President of the Supreme Court and his deputy, along with the tenure of presidents of inferior courts was limited to a non- renewable term of seven years and excluded any candidates who are sixty-seven years of age or older, three years before their mandatory retirement.
OFFICIAL STATUTORY AND REGULATORY SOURCES
Since its establishment, the State of Israel has developed an almost complete codification. The legislation has been issued gradually. In order to study particular areas of Israeli law, it is sometimes necessary to consult various enactments.
Sources in Hebrew
The Official Journal (Rashumot)is the main source for all legislative and administrative actions. It is published by Rashumot government printer in Jerusalem and includes the following parts:
- Sefer Ha-Hukim [Book of Laws] 1949- KMK13 .I87
- Dine Medinat Yisrael, Nusah Hadash [Laws of the State of Israel (New Version)]
Jerusalem, Government Printing Office, 1954- .
The revised and Updated Hebrew Text of Legislation Enacted before the Establishment of the State];
- Hatsaot hok [Bills]. Jerusalem, Government Printing Office. 1948- KMK9 .I87
In 1993 Hatsaot hok was divided into the two following series:
- Hatsaot hok Haknesset [Bills submitted by Knesset Members and Committees]. Jerusalem, Government Printing Office.
- Hatsaot hok Hamemshala [Bills submitted by the Government]. Jerusalem, Government Printing Office.
Additional Rashumotpublications are:
- Kovets Hatakanot [Subsidiary Legislation]. Jerusalem, Government Printing Office. 1948.
- Kovets Hatakanot Hikuke Shilton Mekomi [Subsidiary Legislation of Local Administration]. Jerusalem, Government Printing Office
- Kovets Hatakanot: Shiure mekhes, mas keniyah ve- tashlum halvah [Subsidiary Legislation: Import Taxes and Others]. Jerusalem, Government Printing Office.
- Yalkut ha-pirsumim [Government Notices]. Jerusalem, Government Printing Office
- Yoman Simane Mischar [Trademark Journal]
- Yoman Hapatentim ve-hamidgamim [Journal of Patents and Designs]
- Kitvei- Amana [Treaty Series] [in Hebrew and relevant language]. JX1015.I76A3
This official publication includes all treaties to which Israel is a party
In addition, the government publishes
- Divre Haknesset [Parliamentary debates]. Jerusalem, Government Printing Office, 1948.
Copies of the official Rashumotpublications of laws, bills, and parliamentary debates in Hebrew, as well as unofficial publications of laws that passed third reading and private member bills are also available on the Knesset website in Hebrew at www.knesset.gov.il.
Sources in English
Most primary laws are available in English, in authorized translations by the Ministry of Justice. They are published in:
- Laws of the State of Israel. Authorized English translation of Israeli legislation, Jerusalem, Government Printing Office. KMK 13 .I8713 1948-
This publication includes most, but not all, laws and amendments. Latest volume published is 1986/87. v. 1- ; 1948-
- Laws of the State of Israel (New version). An English edition of the revised text of pre-State legislation. Latest volume published is 1981. 3 v
KMK 13 .I8713 1967-
UNOFFICIAL TRANSLATION OF STATUTORY AND REGULATORY SOURCES
- Business Laws of Israel KMK78.B87 I848 1997
One volume looseleaf published in 1997 by Kluwer Law International and containing translations of laws on legal entities, commercial law, banking and financial services, labor law, contract, intellectual property, dispute settlement, fiscal and bankruptcy.
- Labour Law KMK1214 1989
The Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs publishes every few years new editions of a pamphlet including various labor-related legislation such as the Collective Agreements Law, Employment Service, Hours of Work, and Rest Law.
- Adam Teva V'Din KMK1507.I85 1993
The Ministry of the Environment in cooperation with the Union for Environmental Defense, published in 1993 a pamphlet containing translations of several environmental laws titled Israel's Environmental Legislation.
- A.G. (Aryeh Greenfield) Publications, Haifa
This is a series of reliable translation of laws and compilation of laws with amendments. New revised editions are periodically published. The following translations are currently available:
Class actions: procedural regulations and law provisions excerpted from specific enactments. 1997 KMK3606 .A28 1997
Adoption of children, 1998: law and regulations. 1998 KMK600.A31981 A4 1998
Amutot (Nonprofit societies) law 5740-1980. 1996 KMK954.7.A3198 A2 1996
Auditing and control. 1997 KMK1084 .A28 1997
Bills of Exchange Ordinance (New version). 1995 KMK881.A31957 .A7 1995
Civil law procedure regulations: 5744-1984. 1999 KMK3564.81984 .A2 1999
Civil law procedure regulations: 5744-1984. 1998 KMK3564.81984 .A2 1998
Civil law procedure regulations: 5744-1984. 1996 KMK3564.81984 A2 1996
Companies Law, 5759-1999 KMK956.A311999 A4 1999
Companies Ordinance (New version), 5743-1983. 1994 KMK956.A31983 A7 1994
Computer Law, 5755-1995. 1995 KMK80.C65 I75 1995
Criminal law, procedural law (consolidated version) 5742-1982: completely updated and consolidated translation incorporates all amendments up to and including amendment no. 38 of October 2002. 2003 KMK4604.31982 .A4 2003
Currency control. 1996 KMK2772 .A28 1996
Currency control. 1995 KMK2772 .A28 1995
Currency control: consolidated and up-to-date English translations. 1999
KMK2772 .A28 1999
Currency control: Currency Control Law 5738-1978, Currency Control Permit 5738-1978: a consolidated English translation incorporating all amendments to-date. 1994
KMK2772 .A31978 A7 1994
Debit cards: includes, Debit Cards Law 5746-1986, incorporating Amendments no. 1 to 3; Credit Cards Regulations 5746-1986. 2003 KMK902.5.E4 A3 2003
Electricity Sector Law, 5756-1996. 1996 KMK1035.A31996 A4 1996
Employers Tax Law, 5735-1975. 1994 KMK2854.A31975 A7 1994
Encouragement of Capital Investments. 2003 KMK971.5.A311959 A4 2003
Encouragement of Capital Investments Law, 5719-1959. 1994 KMK971.5.A31959 A7 1994
Encouragement of Capital Investments Law 5719-1959 in English translation, incorporating all law amendments to-date up to and including amendment No. 47. 1997
KMK971.5.A31959 A4 1997
Encouragement of Industrial Research and Development: Encouragement of industrial research and development law 5744-1984 (Incorporation amendments no. 1 and 2): Encouragement of industrial research and development regulations ... 2002 KMK972.A311984 A4 2003
Encouragement of industrial research and development regulations (rate of royalties and rules for their payment) 5756-1996. 1996 KMK972.A351996 A2 1996
Encouragement of Industry (Taxes) Law, 5729-1969. 1992 KMK2802.A31969 .A7 1992
Entry, residence, and citizenship. 1996 KMK2144 .A28 1996
Entry, residence, and citizenship. 1996 KMK2144 .A28 1996 Suppl.
Environmental protection legislation. 1997 KMK1507 .A28 1997
Execution Law 5727-1967. and Execution Regulations, 5740-1979. 1996
Family Court Law 5755-1995. 1996 KMK541.A31995 A4 1996
Government Companies Law, 5735-1975. 2003 KMK975.A3 1975 .A7 2003
Government Companies Law, 5735-1975. 1994 KMK975.A31975 A7 1994
Haulage Services Law, 5757-1997. 1997 KMK1043.A31997 A4 1997
Income Tax Law: inflationary adjustments, ad hoc provisions, 5745-1985. 1986
KMK2837.A31985 A4 1986
Income Tax Ordinance. 1996 KMK2832.A291961 A52 1996
Income Tax Ordinance: a consolidated translation incorporating all amendments to-date, up to and including Amendment no. 119 and ad hoc provisions of February 4, 1999. 1999
KMK2832.A291961 A52 1996
Income Tax Ordinance : a consolidated translation incorporating all amendments to-date, up to and including Amendment no. 132, of July 24, 2002, as amended on December 17, 2002, and amendment no. 133 of December 17, 2002. 2003 KMK2832.A311961 A4 2003
Inheritance Law and Regulations 1998: a revised and updated translation of the law, and the completely new inheritance regulations 5758-1998 correct as of January 15, 1999. 1999
KMK764.51965 .A4 1998
Income Tax Regulations, 1995. 1995 KMK2832 .A33 1995
Income Tax Regulations, 1998. 1995 KMK2832 .A33 1998
Income Tax Regulations, 2003. 2003 KMK2832 .A33 2003
Income Tax Rules: (bookkeeping by institutions), 5752-1992. 1995
KMK2836.A351992 A2 1995
Insurance Business (control), law 5741-1981. 1997 KMK931.3 .A31981 A4 1997
Insurance Business (Control) Law 5741-1981. 1994 KMK931. 3. A31981 A4 1994
Insurance Business Control Regulations. 1998 KMK931.3 .A33 1998
Insurance Business Control Regulations: (particulars of report): 5758-1998. 1998
KMK931.3.A351998 A4 1998
Insurance Legislation, 2003: Insurance business (control) law 5741-1961, Insurance contract law 5741-1981 and relevant subsidiary legislation in consolidated up-to-date English translations. 2003 KMK931 .A28 2003
Israel's Courts of Law and Tribunals. 2003 KMK3441 .A28 2003
Israel's Labor Laws. 1999 KMK1214 1999
Israel's Labor Laws. 1995 KMK1214 1995
Israel's Real Estate and Movable Property Laws. 1998 KMK634 1998
Israel's Written Constitution. 1995 KMK1744 1995
Israel's Written Constitution: The Declaration of Independence and the Basic Laws consolidated and updated as of January 10, 1999. 1998 KMK1744 1999
Joint Investment Trust Regulations 1994. 1995 KMK912 .A33 1995
Labor Inspection Organization Regulations (safety officers) 5756-1996.
KMK1392.A351996 A4 1996
Land Appreciation Tax, 1995. 1995 KMK3100 .A28 1995
Land Appreciation Tax, 1997. 1998 KMK3100 .A28 1998
Mandatory Tenders, 1998 KMK850 .A28 1998
Motor Vehicle Insurance, 2003. 2003 KMK937.4.A87 A3 2003
Motor Vehicle Insurance Ordinance (New version), 570-1970. 1995
KMK937.4 .A87 1995
National Health Insurance Law, 5754-1994. 1995 KMK1430.A31994 A7 1995
National Insurance Law (Consolidated version), 5755-1995. 2003
KMK1410.A311995 A4 2003
National Insurance Law (Consolidated version), 5755-1995. 1999
KMK1410.A31995 A7 1999
National Insurance Law (Consolidated version), 5755-1995. 1995
KMK1410.A31995 A7 1995
National Laboratory Accreditation Authority law, 5757-1997. 1997
KMK1676.L3 I87 1997
Patients' Rights Law, 5756-1996. 1996 KMK1520.5.A31996 A4 1996
Penal Law 5737-1977. 1996 KMK3794.3 1977 A52 1996
Penal Law, 5737-1977. 1994 KMK3794.31977 .A52 1994
Planning and Building Law, 5725-1965: completely updated, incorporating all amendments, up to and including amendment no. 65. 2003 KMK2570.A311965 A4 2003
Planning and Building Procedures Law, 5751-1990. 1996 KMK2578.A31199 A4 1996
Planning and Building Procedures Law, 5751-1990. 1994 KMK2578.A3199 A7 1994
Prevention of Sexual Harassment: The Prevention of Sexual Harassment Law and Regulations 1998 KMK2108.A31998 A4 1998
Professional Ethics. 1997 KMK1094 .A28 1997
Prohibition of money laundering, 2002: full text English translations of the Prohibition of Money Laundering Law, 5760-2000 and of the regulations, rules and orders made under that law. 2003 KMK902.5.R43 A3 2003
Protection of Privacy Law, 5741-1981. 1994 KMK942.6.A31981 A7 1994
Regulation of Investment Counseling and Portfolio Management Law, 5755-1995. 1995
KMK910.5.A31995 A7 1995
Restrictive Business Practices Law 5748-1988. 1998 KMK977.A31988 A4 1998a
Rights of Plant Variety Breeders Law, 5733-1973. 1996 KMK1150.P55 A3 1973
Second Authority for Television and Radio Law 5750-1990: incorporates all amendments, up to and including amendment number 18 of November 21, 2002. 2003
KMK1067.A31199 A4 2003
Securities Legislation, 1998: updated and consolidated translations of the Securities law 5728-1968 and of relevant subsidiary legislation. 1998 KMK956.5.A31968 A7 1998
Securities Legislation, 2003: updated and consolidated translations of the Securities law 5728-1968 and of relevant subsidiary legislation, correct as of April 30, 2003. 2003
KMK956.5.A311968 A4 2003
Spouses (property relations) law, 5733-1973. 1997 KMK552.A31973 A4 1997
Stamp Tax on Documents Law 5731-1961: a full text English translation incorporating all changes up to and including September 1, 2003. 2003 KMK3184.A311961 A4 2003
Surrogate Motherhood Agreements (approval of agreement and status of newborn) law, 5756-1996. 1996 KMK587.A31994 A4 1996
Taxes (Collection) Ordinance. 1994 KMK2810.A31973 A7 1994
Telecommunications Law, 5742-1982. 1998 KMK1066.A31982 A4 1998
Telecommunications Regulations: (procedures and conditions for award of satellite broadcast licenses), 5758-1998. 1998 KMK1066.2.A351998 A4 1998
Trade Levies law, 5751-1991. 1996 KMK3208.A31991 A4 1996
Trade Marks and Merchandise Marks. 1994 KMK1160.A31972 .A7 1994
Value- Added Tax Law, 1997. 1997 KMK3145.A31995 A4 1997
Vehicle Insurance, 1997. 1997 KMK937.4.A87 A3 1997
There are two major compilations of Israeli legislation:
(1) Dinim [Laws] (1986- ). Ramat Ha-Sharon, Halakhot. 34 v. (loose-leaf)
LAW ISRAEL 2 1986
Includes laws and regulations. Updated continuously.
(2) Hachakika Bemedinat Yisrael [The Legislation in the State of Israel] 1988 - Jerusalem, Preisler 5 v. (loose-leaf) KMK14 1988. Updated quarterly. KMK14 1988
Preisler's publications of legislation by title and subject are very useful, particularly in locating subsidiary legislation.
Until 1999 the Israel Bar Association published the following:
- Piske Din Shel Bet Hamishpat Haelyon [Decisions of the Israeli Supreme Court].
Jerusalem, the Israeli Bar, 1948- KMK18.A2 I87
- Pesaḳim shel bate ha-mishpaṭ ha-meḥoziyim be-Yiśraʾel [Decisions of the District Courts]. Tel Aviv, The Israeli Bar, 1948-
- Piske Din Avoda [Decisions of the Labor Courts] LAW ISRAEL 6 Labor
Since 1999 Nevo Press Ltd. Has been licensed to publish general and labor court decisions.
The Institute for Social Security publishes its tribunals' decisions in
- Piske Din Ha-Mosad Le-Bituah Le'umi [Decisions of Social Security Tribunals]. Jerusalem,
The Institute for Social Security, 1966-
- Piskei Din Nivharim Shel Bet Hadin HaZvai L'irurim
Selected judgments of the Military Court of Appeals . 2 v.
KMK3395 .A49 1998
Digests and Indexes
The use of online legal databases seems to be more efficient. The following digests of court decisions, however, may be used:
- Ikre halakhot shel Bet ha-din ha-artsi la-avodah [Digest of Decisions of Labor Courts].
Tel Aviv, Lishkat orkhe ha-din, The Israeli Bar, 1989 KMK1216.7 .I39 1989
- N. Savir. Taksir piske din Shel Bet Hamishpat Haelyon [Summaries of Decisions of the Supreme Court]. Jerusalem, La mishpetan, 1966- KMK 18 .S28
- Selected Judgments of the Supreme Court. Includes a few selected decisions that had great impact on the Israeli legal system and its constitutional law (Israeli Bar: Tel Aviv)
- Israel Law Reports
This is in effect a continuation of the above title. Published by Nevo Press Ltd (latest volume 2002-2003); and by William S. Hein & Co., Inc. (2004-). This is in effect a continuation of the above title. So far only one volume has been published in 2002. It includes selected decisions rendered from 1992 to 1994 (Jonathan Davidson, ed.)
- Judgment of the Israel Supreme Court: Fighting Terrorism within the Law.
Includes an article by the retired President of the Israel Supreme Court titled [t]he Supreme Court and the Problem of Terrorism, a selection of decisions of the Supreme Court on interrogation of terrorism suspects, house demolitions, warfare and humanitarian matters, detention, assigned residence, and the erection of the barrier in the West Bank. Published by Israel Supreme Court. KMK 4352 A49 2004
Numerous relevant websites exist. In addition, there are various excellent online legal databases that have replaced the CD-ROMS previously used. These legal databases are comprehensive and user friendly. See further comments under Legal Databases.
Introduction to Israeli law
For an introduction to Israeli law, the following works may be consulted:
- The History of Law in Multi- Cultural Society, Israel 1917-1967. Edited by R. Harris, A. Kedar, P. Lahav & A. Likhovski (Ashgate Dartmouth Publishing Co. Ltd., 2002). KMK120.H58 2002
- Introduction to the Law of Israel. Edited by A. Shapira & K. DeWitt-Arar. (Kluwer Law International, 1995) KMK 68.I58 1995
- The Law of Israel: General Surveys. Edited by I. Zamir & S. Colombo. (Jerusalem, 1995)
KMK 74.L39 1995
- Israel Among the Nations. (Kluwer Law International, The Hague, The Netherlands, 1998)
KMK 746.I85 1998
- M. Rabello European Legal Traditions and Israel. (Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 1994) and K623.29 E87 1994
- Bin-Nun, The Law of the State of Israel, An Introduction (Jerusalem, 1990)
LAW ISRAEL 7 Bin-N 1990
Survey of bibliographic sources
For a comprehensive survey of bibliographic sources including primary and secondary sources of legal materials of Israeli law, Jewish law and Pre-State materials see:
- E. Snyder, Israel: A Legal Research Guide KMK47.S65 2000-
Treatises on particular areas of Israeli law
Several treatises on particular areas of Israeli law are available in English; examples include:
- Suzie Navot, The constitutional law of Israel, (Kluwer Law International, The Netherlands, 2007) KMK1750.N38 2007
- David Kretzmer, The Occupation of Justice, The Supreme Court of Israel and the Occupied territories (State University of New York, 2002) KMK3466.k74 2002
- Israel Business Law, An Essential Guide (Rev. Ed., Alon Kaplan & Paul Ogden, eds., Kluwer Law International, 1999) KMK 78.B87I85 1999
- Public law in Israel (Itzhak Zamir & Ellen Zysblat, eds., Clarendon Press, 1966)
- S. Shetreet, Justice in Israel: A Study of the Israeli Judiciary (Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, The Netherlands, 1994) KMK.3420.S54 1994
For a general treatise on Jewish law, including a chapter specifically on Jewish Law in the Legal System of the State of Israel see
- M. Elon et al., Jewish Law (Mishpat Ivri) Cases and Materials (Matthew Bender, NY 1999) LAW GENERAL JEWI 1999
On matrimonial rights see
- Moshe Chigier , Husband and wife in Israeli law ( Harry Fischel Institute for Research in Talmud and Jurisprudence, 1985) KMK543 .H5413 1985
Major commentaries in Hebrew
Among the most important commentaries in Hebrew are:
- Barak, Parshanut Bemishpat [Interpretation in Law] (Nevo, Jerusalem, 1992- )
K295.H4 B37 1992
- A. Rubinstein, Hamishpat HaKonstitusioni Shel Medinat Yisrael [Constitutional Law of the State of Israel] (5th ed., 1996) KMK 1750.R8 1996
- M. Shavah, Hadin Haishi BeYisrael [Personal Status Law in Israel] 2 v (Israel, 1991)
KMK 511.S5 1991
Legal Documents Concerning the Arab-Israeli Conflict
Treaties and international agreements are not considered part of Israel's domestic law unless expressly enacted into law by the Knesset (Parliament). Legal documents concerning the Arab-Israeli conflict may, however, be relevant in researching issues that are subject to dispute over jurisdiction and control.
- Documents on the Arab-Israeli conflict (M. Cherif Bassiouni, ed., Ardsley, N.Y.: Transnational Publishers, c2005 KZ6795.A72 D63 2005
- The Arab-Israeli Conflict and its Resolution: Selected Documents (Ruth Lapidoth & Moshe Hirsch, eds., Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 1992) KZ4282.A82 1992)
- The Jerusalem Question and its Resolution: Selected Documents (Ruth Lapidoth & Moshe Hirsch, eds., Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 1994) JX 4084.J4 J47 1994
- Whither Jerusalem? (Ruth Lapidoth & Moshe Hirsch, eds., Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 1995) JX 4084.J4 H5713 1995
Several law periodicals are published in Israel in Hebrew. Among the primary ones are:
- Hapraklit [The Attorney] Israeli Bar Association K16.E68
- Mechkerei Mishpat [Law Studies] (Bar Ilan University Law Faculty) K13.E33
- Mishpatim [Laws] (Hebrew University Law School, Jerusalem) K13I77
- Iyune Mishpat [Studies at Law] (Tel-Aviv University Law School) K9.Y9
- Mishpat Umimshal [Law and Government in Israel] (University of Haifa, Faculty of Law)
- Plilim - The Multiciciplinary Journal of Public Law, Society and Culture (The Buchamann Faculty of Law, Tel Aviv University) K16.E45
A number of legal journals are published in English. Among them:
- Israel Law Review K9 .S72
- Israel Yearbook on Human Rights K3236.3 .I87
- Tel Aviv University Studies in Law K24.E4
- Israeli Reports to the International Congress of Comparative Law KMK62. I87
- Justice - a publication of the International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists K10.U796
- Theoretical Inquiries in Law (The Buchamann Faculty of Law, Tel Aviv University) K24.H43
- Mafteah Lekitvei Et Mishpatiim BeYisrael. Compiled by E. Snyder KMK5.M34 1989-
This comprehensive and useful index covers the period beginning with 1982 and ending in 1990.
- Various databases include increasing numbers of references to law review articles and offer user-friendly indexes.
Online Legal Databases
Several online legal data bases are available for subscribers.
The Nevo legal database at www.nevo.co.il1is a comprehensive online legal database and is maintained by Nevo Press Ltd., which has exclusive distribution rights to publish the official text of court decisions. In addition to officially published court decisions from all courts, the database includes decisions not published officially, summaries and history of cases from first instance to appeal posted within one hour after delivered, summaries of decisions, full text of books, and law periodicals. The database includes up-to-date full text of primary and subsidiary legislation and historical chronology of amendments. The text of some international treaties is also provided. Subscription to the database also entitles the subscribers to a daily legal news brief summarizing newly passed bills and significant court decisions.
Additional useful legal databases include:
Different sources, particularly periodicals and books, are available on different online legal databases.
Useful Internet Sites
There are numerous websites with information on Israeli law. All Israeli government institutions and ministries maintain websites with relevant information on their services both in Hebrew and in English. Hebrew sites are usually more comprehensive than those in English. Sites with relevant law data include:
- Official Websites
The Knesset (Parliament) site: www.knesset.gov.il
Includes, among others, information on the Knesset, broadcasts from the Knesset, Knesset agenda laws, statistical reports, coalition agreements, parliamentary and committees' debates. The Knesset Institute for Research and Information posts research reports and other information on this site. The English site provides information on the Israeli government system, the text of the Proclamation of Independence, and of Basic Laws.
The Judicial Authority site: www.court.gov.il
This is the official web site of the court system. The Hebrew site includes decisions of the Supreme Court, military courts, and useful information for practicing attorneys. The English site includes general information about the judicial authority, appointment of judges, and summaries of selected court decisions.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs site: www.mfa.gov.il
The Law page includes the English text of Basic laws, selected laws, and legal issues and rulings.
The site provides Basic information about Israel and its people, comprehensive material on the Israeli government and its policies, and special updates and documents related to the Peace Process.
The Prime Minister's (PM) Office: http://www.pmo.gov.il/PMOEng
Available also in Hebrew and in Arabic; provides press releases, current events, PM's speeches and links to other government offices' sites.
- Professional Associations and Institutions Websites
The English section contains general information about the Israel Bar Association, admission requirements to the bar, and articles and opinions.
Israel Democracy Institute: www.idi.org.il
The IDI is a non-profit organization designed to promote structural reforms, both political and economic. It constitutes a source of information and comparative research for use by the Knesset and government agencies, and serves as an educational entity for decision makers and the general public. Some of the IDI publications are available on the Web and provide information on current legislative action.
- Law Library of Congress resources:
Guide to Law http://www.loc.gov/law/help/guide/nations/israel.html provides an annotated hypertext guide to internet sources on Israeli law and related information.
GLIN Global Information Network: http://www.glin.gov provides a list of legal documents related to the State of Israel.
Global Legal Monitor: http://www.loc.gov/law/news/glm.html provides legal news from around the world, including from Israel.
Although Lexis does not have the full text of Israeli legal sources, reference or analysis may be found in foreign law review periodicals. The News file is also useful for current materials, which then can be further checked.