Former Supreme Court justice Edmund Levy, who left a legal imprint on some of the contentious rulings of the last few decades, died on Tuesday at age 72.
He was involved in decisions relating to Yitzhak Rabin’s assassin Yigal Amir, former president Moshe Katsav and the 2005 Gaza withdrawal.
“He was straight as an arrow and never feared expressing his opinion, time and again, on controversial issues,” said Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
Levy, who had a deep impact on the country’s judicial system, possessed “exceptional intellectual independence and had a remarkable ability to analyze complex situations,” Netanyahu said.
“The nation of Israel, the State of Israel and the Land of Israel were uppermost in his mind,” the prime minister added.
Levy immigrated to Israel at age 10 from Iraq and later served as a judge in the Kfar Saba Magistrate’s Court and the Tel Aviv District Court. He headed the panel that imposed a life sentence on Amir for his assassination of former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin.
He was appointed to the Supreme Court in 2001, where he wrote a minority opinion against the 2005 Disengagement.
After his retirement from the court in 2011, he was known for a government-sponsored report that bears his name.
The Levy Report, as it became known, stated that West Bank settlements are legal under international law and called on the government to legalize outposts built on state land. But after accepting the report from Levy, Netanyahu never brought it for authorization to the Ministerial Committee on Settlements or to the government.
Justice Minister Tzipi Livni said he was a bold judge, who was also an activist and was not afraid to speak the truth.
His rulings reflected his belief that people had a right to human dignity, said Livni, who explained that he was sensitive to human suffering.
“He was a decent and honest man,” said Livni.