26 Isr. L. Rev. 238 (1992)
The New Basic Laws on Human Rights: A Mini-Revolution in Israeli Constitutional Law

handle is hein.journals/israel26 and id is 248 raw text is: NOTES

THE NEW BASIC LAWS ON HUMAN RIGHTS:
A MINI-REVOLUTION IN ISRAELI CONSTITUTIONAL LAW?
David Kretzmer*
1. Background
Until the recent passage of the two basic laws on civil rights, the
Basic Law: Freedom of Occupation and the Basic Law: Human Dignity
and Freedom, Israel had no bill of rights. Pursuant to the 1951 Harari
Resolution, according to which Israel's formal constitution would be
drawn up in a piecemeal fashion by a series of basic laws, basic laws
were enacted covering virtually all aspects of Israel's constitutional
system. However, these basic laws did not include a basic law on civil
liberties or human rights.
The absence of a bill of rights was not for want of trying. Numerous
attempts were made over the years by members of the Knesset, the
Knesset Constitution and Law Committee and the Minister of Justice
to further passage of a bill of rights. In recent years the most adamant
opposition to a general bill of rights came from the religious parties, who
have a principled objection to judicial review. This objection rests on the
not-unfounded conviction that a bill of rights will enable the Supreme
Court to exercise judicial review over legislation that was passed be-
cause of the strategic position of the religious parties in Israel's coalition
system, but that is anathema to the secular majority in the country. The
main examples of such legislation are the laws regarding religious
marriage and Sabbath observance.
The two basic laws enacted in the last session of the outgoing Knesset
grew out of the realization that even it were impossible, for political
reasons, to enact a general bill of rights it might be possible to enact a
*   Louis Marshall Professor of Environmental Law, The Hebrew University of Jerusa-
lem.

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