In view of the importance of the Israeli Supreme Court’s recent decision in HCJ 5658/23 Movement for Quality Government in Israel v. The Knesset (the “reasonableness” decision) and the broad interest in this landmark case, we have decided to publish a translation of President (emer.) Esther Hayut’s majority opinion at this time, rather than wait until the completion of the translation of the full 738-page judgment.
Recent Developments in Israeli Law
Judgments of Interest:
The Israeli Supreme Court published its annual list of the Court’s most important decisions delivered between September 2019 and December 2020. Below, we present abstracts of selected cases, and links to English translations where available. The full Hebrew list can be viewed here. We also present a brief list of several recently published articles addressing or drawing upon Israeli law.
Articles of Interest:
The various measures adopted by the Israeli Government to confront the Covid-19 pandemic brought a flurry of petitions before the Supreme Court. The petitions ranged from a request to declare a Jewish leap year in order to delay Passover, to objections to particular restrictions and closures, and a challenge to the constitutionality of the contact-tracing regime adopted by the Government. Below, we present summaries of sixteen cases decided by the Court on petitions related to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Due to the high rate of incidence of the coronavirus in the city of Bnei Brak, on April 2, 2020, the Israeli Government declared the city a “restricted zone” for a period of six days, effectively putting the entire city under quarantine. The declaration was made by virtues of emergency regulations promulgated to confront the coronavirus epidemic.
Due to the need for hospital beds for the treatment of coronavirus patients, the Israeli Ministry of Health decided to transfer patients from under-utilized geriatric hospitals to other facilities, and adapt the evacuated hospitals for the treatment of coronavirus patients.
Following the elections for the 23rd Knesset, the new Knesset was set to be sworn in on March 16, 2020. In anticipation of the swearing in, a majority of the Knesset requested that the acting Speaker of the Knesset, MK Yoel (Yuli) Edelstein, include a motion for the election of a permanent Speaker on the agenda of that session. The Speaker refused.
Petitions were filed in the High Court of Justice challenging the Speaker’s decision.
On March 20, 2020, we reported the High Court of Justice’s interim order of March 19, 2020, in the matter of the emergency regulations issued to permit the collection, processing and use of the “technological data” of persons who have contracted the new coronavirus, in order to combat its spread.
On March 24, 2020, after receiving updates by the Respondents concerning the steps taken pursuant to the interim order, the Court issued its decision. The translation of that decision follows.
On Sunday, March 22, 2020, the Supreme Court addressed a petition to order the Chief Rabbinate to intercalate the Hebrew calendar. The Petitioner sought to delay Passover by thirty days due to the current corona virus emergency.
In response to the corona virus epidemic, the Israeli government promulgated two sets of emergency regulations: (1) Emergency Regulations (Authorization of the Israel Security Agency to aid in the national effort to limit the spread of the new corona virus), 5780-2020; (2) Emergency Regulations (Location Data), 5780-2020.