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Vol 23 No 5 May/June 2018

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The Purse and the Sword: The Trials of Israel's Legal Revolution

ISBN13: 9780190278502
Published: August 2016
Publisher: Oxford University Press USA
Country of Publication: USA
Format: Hardback
Price: £72.00

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The Purse and the Sword presents a critical analysis of Israel's legal system in the context of its politics, history, and the forces that shape its society.

This book examines the extensive powers that Israel's Supreme Court arrogated to itself since the 1980s and traces the history of the transformation of its legal system and the shifts in the balance of power between the branches of government. Centrally, this shift has put unprecedented power in the hands of both the Court and Israel's attorney general and state prosecution at the expense of Israel's cabinet, constituting its executive branch, and the Knesset-its parliament.

The expansion of judicial power followed the weakening of the political leadership in the wake of the Yom Kippur war of 1973, and the election results in the following years. These developments are detailed in the context of major issues faced by modern Israel, including the war against terror, the conflict with the Palestinians, the Arab minority, settlements in the West Bank, state and religion, immigration, military service, censorship and freedom of expression, appointments to the government and to public office, and government policies.

The aggrandizement of power by the legal system led to a backlash against the Supreme Court in the early part of the current century, and to the partial rebalancing of power towards the political branches.

Legal History, Other Jurisdictions , Middle East
Timeline Chart

Part I: The Classical Court
1. A State is Born
2. To Judge But Not to Rule
3. The Attorney General and his Powers
4. The Legal System Topples Rabin
5. Menachem Begin: Temporary Justice Minister

Part II: The Legal Revolution
6. The Legal Revolution Takes Off
7. Undermining the Political System
8. Jewish Racists Meet Palestinian Nationalists in the Knesset
9. The Supreme Court and Military Service for Yeshiva Students: Justiciability and Public Suits
10. The Secret Services Affair
11. Torture
12. The Second Rabin Government and the Oslo Agreements
13. The Deri Trial
14. The Bar-On-Hebron Affair
15. Ehud Barak's Commission of Inquiry
16. Protecting Human Rights
17. Trespassing on the Executive
18. Political Agreements and Prizes
19. Interference in Knesset Procedures
20. The Supreme Court and the Fight against Terror
21. The Court as Legislator and the Wonders of Interpretation
22. The Supreme Court Writes a Constitution
23. Appointments to the Supreme Court
24. The Role of Criminal Law
25. Guilty until Proven Innocent
26. The Attorney General Reigns Supreme

PART III: Partial Restraint
27. The Olmert Government and the Second Lebanon War
28. The Olmert Investigations
29. War in the Shadow of Criminal Investigations
30. The Ramon Trial
31. The Decline in the Supreme Court's Standing
32. Changes and Reform Proposals
33. Changes in the Appointments to the Supreme Court
34. Snail-Paced Justice
35. The Media Battle
36. The Court Today: Moderate Rulings, Radical Principles