Coronavirus Interim Order Update

Coronavirus Interim Order Update

Avinoam Sharon
March 29, 2020

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.


1.           In our decision of March 19, 2020, we issued an interim order that no use was to be made of the authority – that had not yet been exercised – under the Emergency Regulations (Location Data), 5780-2020 (hereinafter: the Police Regulations), and decided that if by Tuesday, March 24, 2020, at noon, the Knesset would not establish the relevant committees to allow for parliamentary oversight of the 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 (hereinafter: the ISA Regulations), no use could be made of the authorities granted thereunder.

2.           Today – March 24, 2020 – we received a number of updated notices from Respondents 1-7, as well as from Respondent 8, according to which the temporary Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee of the 23rd Knesset was established, chaired by Respondent 9 [MK Gabi Ashkenazi], as well as the Subcommittee for Intelligence and Secret Services of that Committee (hereinafter: the Subcommittee). We also received an urgent request from Respondents 1-7 concerning revoking the interim order as far as it relates to the Police Regulations. In accordance with our decision, responses to this request were submitted by the Petitioners.

          3.           After reviewing the request and the Petitioners’ responses to it, we order as follows:

a.           As regards the ISA Regulations – the ISA Regulations and the directives thereunder will remain in force at present, and the parliamentary  oversight under sec. 39(a) of Basic Law: The Government will be completed. In this regard, it would be appropriate for the Subcommittee to address the, inter alia, the very authorization of the ISA to act in this area. In addition, consideration should be given to the developments in regard to the restrictions imposed upon the population by the Government, and in regard to the launching of the “HaMagen” app developed by the Ministry of Health, of which we were first apprised only in the framework of the supplementary response of Respondents 1-7, on March 23, 2020.

According to what we were informed in the notice of Respondents 1-7, the Subcommittee will convene a session on the matter on Thursday, March 26, 2020.

b.           As regards the Police Regulations – Respondents 1-7 gave notice of the completion of the preparation of a memorandum for a statutory legislative arrangement, which has been published for public comments to be submitted by tomorrow, March 25, 2020, at 7:00 AM. In view of the intention to enact primary legislation in this area urgently, and given the changes made in the Police Regulations and the decision to publish the directives established thereunder, we are of the opinion that, at present, the request to revoke the interim order in regard to these regulations should be granted. However, if primary legislation in that regard will not be forthcoming, it will be possible to revisit the matter of the interim order.

4.           The Respondents will submit an updated notice in regard to secs. 3(a) and 3(b) by March 31, 2020, at noon. After receiving that notice, we will decide upon how the petitions will proceed.

Given this day, 28 Adar 5780 (March 24, 2020).