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10 Cardozo L. Rev. 529 (1988-1989)
A Barrel without Hoops: The Impact of Counterterrorism on Israel's Legal Culture

handle is hein.journals/cdozo10 and id is 547 raw text is: A BARREL WITHOUT HOOPS: THE IMPACT OF
Pnina Lahav*
'Israel's Defense Forces without law is like a barrel without hoops.' 1
Terrorism challenges basic notions of Justice and Law. It de-
moralizes the State by exposing the inability of its institutions to pro-
tect life and liberty. It is the tool of desperados, whose devotion to a
given cause has dehydrated their conscience, for whom no means is
too ruthless in the struggle to attain the end. Once a society has
tasted terrorism, its members expect to be struck anytime, anywhere,
and for no reason other than their membership in that society. Only
through tremendous inner strength can a society exposed to terrorism
maintain its faith in concepts of due process and human dignity, as
applied to both the society's members and its enemies.
The existence of terrorism is, in itself, a tragedy. The greater
tragedy of terrorism, however, is that it leads to counterterrorism.
The victimized society, to preserve itself, establishes a counterterrorist
force. The force operates-as it must-behind a cloak of secrecy. In
exchange for the security afforded by this secret police, the society
relaxes its demand that the police account for its actions.
The secret police, in return for the people's trust, is responsibile
for preserving civil society. Success in its mission brings the secret
police added power and prestige, as well as an ever greater trust and
dependence by society. Eventually, the secret police begins to lose
sight of its identity as a weapon of necessity, created to preserve soci-
ety. It begins to blur the boundaries between its self-interest and the
public interest. The secret police leadership begins to believe it can
act with impunity, grows ever blinder to the standards of official con-
duct in a democratic society, and becomes increasingly impatient with
the way things ought to be done.
Professor of Law, Boston University. This essay is in memory of Chaman P. Shelach, a
friend, a lover of peace and of civil liberties, a judge in the magistrate court of Jerusalem,
murdered, with his wife Ilana and his daughter Zlil, by Egyptian bullets, in Ras Burka,
the Sinai, on October 5, 1985. Thanks go to Ethan Bronner, Victor Brudney, Avigdor Feld-
man, Morton Horwitz, Anthony Lewis, Chip Lupu, Henry Steiner, and my research assistants
Jonathan Forstot and Susan Hansen for reading previous drafts and making valuable
I G. Shtrasman, Wearing the Robes: A History of the Legal Profession Until 1962, at 201
(1984) (Hebrew text) (quoting A. Choter-Yishay, first Advocate-General of Israel, 1948).

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