Law of Israel

Law of Israel

Law of Israel combines common law and civil law.

ources of Israeli law

Israeli law draws on the following sources:
*The Mecelle (מג'לה) - Ottoman casuistic Muslim law (matrimonial and Real Estate Registration)
*British common law
*Israeli codification (torts and contracts)
*International treaties voted by Knesset into local law
*Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel – nonbinding manifesto
*Law of the United States – precedents, caselaw, Model rules and the Restatements.

Historical perspective

Very little Turkish Ottoman law is left today. The Turks, who did not wish to interfere with the freedom of religion, ordered that each resident surrender to the Religious Courts of his personal affiliation for personal status and matrimonial purposes. This system, in general, survived. Also the Turks adopted the Napoleonic Land Registration system, through a successive Block and Lot entries. Although this is a more rational system than the American Grantor-grantee index registration system, today, land registration in Israel is in a state of chaos. In order to find who an owner is at any given time, an attorney must conduct a series of costly investigations with various arms of the Government, and sometimes with the private building company books. No title insurance is offered in Israel. Malpractice suits against real estate attorneys are quite common.

The British who were given a League of Nations mandate to govern Palestine, implemented the Common Law system, except for the jury system. Legal precents in torts and contracts were borrowed from England, and certain legal areas were codified, in order to assure legal certainty. Thus, the Penal Code in Israel was practically the same as those used by the British in India or other colonies and territories.

With the establishment of Israel in 1948, English law as it was frozen on the date of independence remained binding, with post-1948 English law developments being under advisement only.

Upon Independence, a Bill of Independence was signed as a manifesto for the new born State. While it was drafted as a universal and democratic declaration capturing noble ideas prevalent at the time, it is nonbinding, and hardly ever used as a guiding tool.

Since independence, the young State of Israel was eager to gain recognition in the international arena by way of joining international treaties, and participating heavily in the negotiations of such international treaties. To the extent they were ratified and voted by the Knesset as a law, they are binding just like any other domestic law. For example, see the Warsaw convention.

During the 1960s last century, there was a rush to codify much of the Common Law in areas of contracts and torts. The new laws were a blend of Common Law, local caselaw, and fresh ideas. Today, however, a reading of the plain language of such statutes is never enough to ascertain one's legal position, since Israeli Judiciary feels rather free to add unwritten concepts of good faith, balancing of equities, reasonableness, and even reliance on obscure exceptions, and exceptions to the exceptions.

Today, in the area of Constitutional law and civil rights, caselaws from Canada are very appreciated. Otherwise, in commerce, cyberspace and other modern causes of actions developed in the United States, Israeli Judges, particularly at higher courts, tend to embrace them. Israeli Judges do not see the United States as an aggregation of 50 different jurisdictions, and a federal system, as well as model Restatement rules. Rather they classify any legal document originating from the United States, under the omnibus rubric of "American Law". Peculiarly, the non-binding American Model Rules and Restatement, which are hardly ever cited in a United States brief, are accorded a lot of weight in Israeli Courts, much more than in their Country of origin.

Questions of first impression brought before the Supreme Court of Israel, often result in a comprehensive comparative analysis and compendium of solutions and approaches from around the world, including Germany, New Zealand and South Africa, even if the parties never cited one foreign case. Such legal opinions become a showcase for a Judge's legal ability, scholastic prowess, analytical skills and writing samples. The litigants, however, may be waiting for a judgment to be rendered two or three years after final oral argument.

Religion and law in Israel

When the State of Israel was established in 1948, certain agreements were made between the secular parties and the religious parties in the Knesset to preserve the character of Israel as a Jewish State. Since then, religious parties have been courted by the ruling party and their inclusion in the government coalition is sought by promises of budgeting that benefits the religious sector, ministerial appointments and commitment to the secular-religious status quo.

Marital status issues in Israel come under the jurisdiction of the religious court system. Each religious sector has its own courts. Jewish divorces are handled by the rabbinical courts. Judges ("dayanim") are ultra-Orthodox rabbis. While support and equitable distribution of property are governed by civil law, and such reliefs are available in Civil Courts, if a man files for divorce in a Rabbinical Court before the wife filed in a civil Court, the Rabbinical Court may claim jurisdiction over the property and support issues as well. Since under Jewish law, a divorce Get must be delivered by the husband to the wife voluntarily, husband are known to hijack the wives' property unless their financial or other demands are met. Women whose husbands refuse to deliver a Get or who have disappeared without a trace are called Agunot [ [ Rabbis cancel conference on 'chained women' - Haaretz - Israel News ] ] , they can not remarry, and this status may last for decades [] .

There is no civil marriage in Israel, and Orthodox rabbis will not perform mixed marriages between members of different religions. Other laws may prevent certain people from marrying. Under Jewish law, a Cohen is forbidden to marry a divorced woman. Those who are denied marriage licenses can only marry abroad. Cyprus is a popular marriage destination, and marriage by correspondence through Paraguay used to be popular as well.

Other religious holds on the law in Israel are:
*No inter-faith adoptions.
*Converts into Judaism must follow ultra orthodox paradigms, and undergo long studies and tests, without assurance of acceptance.
*Severe restrictions on pig farms and shrimp ponds, and some local zoning against sale of pork and non-kosher food.
*A Certificate of Kashrut requires payments to a Kashrut inspector.
*No public transportation on Saturdays.
*Law of Return.
*The State maintains a Registry of mamzers or illegitimate children.
*In June 2007 a draft law was voted on in the Knesset designed to ban a pride parade in Jerusalem, because of its "offensiveness to Jewish Culture" (See Pride parade#Jerusalem).
*Ethical issues in medicine and biotechnology, such as stem cell research, cloning, euthanasia, and surrogate pregnancy are incorporated with strong emphasis on the attitude of Halakha on the subject.
*Construction, road and infrastructure development are regularly stalled for fear they may be encroaching on a site where Jews may have been buried. This is achieved by filing objections with the relevant District Planning and Building Board. Archeological digging permits are similarly affected.
*Hotels in Israel are denied operating licenses if not accommodating certain aspects of Jewish Law. Thus, no unkosher food may be offered in Israeli hotels, and Sabbath elevators stopping automatically in every floor must be installed.
*Employment restrictions on Saturdays, including increased wages for employees clocking hours on the Sabbath.

ee also

*Common law
*Civil law (legal system)
*Legal systems of the world
*Basic laws of Israel
*Land and Property laws in Israel
*Prevention of Infiltration Law

External links

* [ Basic Laws of the State of Israel] from the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs
* [ The Bar of Israel]
* [ The Courts of Israel] (Judicial branch of Israel)
* [ The Knesset] (Legislative branch of Israel)
* [ Israeli Ministry of Justice] (Executive branch body responsible for the judicial branch of Israel)
* [ Regularly-updating articles on law in Israel]
* [ Law in Israel]


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