dorit beinisch 311 Ariel Jerozolimski.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
New social networking tools such as Facebook and Twitter have far-reaching implications for the legal arena, Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch told judges in a speech at the National Judicial Conference in Jerusalem on Wednesday.
Around 600 judges from across the country are attending the conference, which includes a panel discussion on the impact of the Internet and social networking on social, business and legal conduct.
“Facebook and Twitter have changed the face of our region and the power
to change social and political reality at lightning speed,” Beinisch
said. “The law will have to adapt to new realities.”
The Supreme Court president cited privacy issues, as well as the way
Internet technologies are used in the war on crime and security, as
areas that affect the legal world. She noted that there was a time lag
between technological developments and changes to the legislative
Beinisch also discussed slow changes taking place in Israeli law and
said that while various ideas regarding new legislation have been
raised, so far these have not included reforms to restructure the
courts, which have remained unchanged since the British Mandate ended in
Israel’s Basic Laws have also not been completed, Beinisch noted.
In 1949, the First Knesset, in what was called the Harari Decision,
charged its Constitution, Law and Justice Committee with drafting Basic
Laws, which were intended to form the chapters of a future constitution.
Between 1958 and 1988, the Knesset passed nine Basic Laws, all of which
pertained to the institutions of the state. In 1992, it passed the two
Basic Laws that related to rights and the basis of the Supreme Court’s
recently declared powers of judicial review. These were Basic Law: Human
Dignity and Liberty, and Basic Law: Freedom of Occupation.
Though there is still no constitution, the Basic Laws remain the basis of the country’s constitutional law.
“The [proposed] Basic Law on Social Rights, whose core subjects are very
much on the agenda, has not been actualized at all,” Beinisch said.
Rights groups called on the government to legislate a Basic Law on
Social Rights this week, in the light of social-justice protests that
have gripped the country.
Beinisch dubbed the courts “a mirror that reflect the face of society”
and said that while it was not the role of the courts to determine
economic and social policy, the justice system was a tool to implement
“I want to believe that if Israel’s priorities will be to further a
social agenda, the judiciary and law enforcement will also have their
turn in correcting the discrimination that has been ongoing for many
years,” she said.
Beinisch moved on to criticize what she said were attempts by the Knesset to erode judges’ powers.
“From time to time bills are raised in Knesset to oppose the courts, and
especially the Supreme Court, by those seeking to reduce its power or
to strengthen the political component of the [judicial] appointments
process,” she said.
Beinisch’s comment was likely a reference to a bill proposed in July by
Likud MKs that would allow the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice
Committee to veto appointments of Supreme Court justices.
Beinisch concluded by saying that while Israel is facing great changes,
judges’ obligation to respect and protect human rights remains the same
“The legal system is at the core, and requires judges to make judgements
according to the law and the basic values of the system, in a society
that is built on the profound meaning of a Jewish and democratic state,”
“These values are the compass that guides our ship through stormy seas.”