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.
The Supreme Court of Israel has begun an experimental trial of live broadcasts of hearings before the Court via the Internet. The project was instituted on the basis of the recommendations of the Public Committee for Examining the Opening of the Israeli Courts to Electronic Media, chaired by Chief Justice (emerita) Dorit Beinisch. The purpose of the project is to employ modern technology to better realize the open-court principle.
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.
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.