The Israeli Unfinished Constitutional Revolution: Has the Time Come for Protecting Economic and Social Rights?
Israel Law Review, Vol. 37, No. 300, pp. 2-3, 2003-2004
47 Pages Posted: 27 Apr 2005
This article addresses the constitutional discourse surrounding the status of economic and social rights in Israel. It examines the principal interpretive strategies adopted by the Supreme Court with regard to the 1992 basic laws (in particular, with respect to the right to human dignity)and criticizes the Court's reluctance to apply analogous strategies to incorporate economic and social rights into Israeli constitutional law. Potential explanations for this biased approach are also critically discussed. The ensuing outcome is a constitutional imbalance in Israeli law, which perpetuates the unjustified view that economic and social rights are inherently inferior to their civil and political counterparts, and puts in question Israel's compliance with its obligations under the International Covenant of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. At the same time, encouraging recent Supreme Court decisions, particularly the YATED and Marciano judgments, indicate growing acceptance on the part of the Court of the role of economic and social rights in Israeli constitutional law, and raise hopes for a belated judicial change of heart concerning the need to protect at least a "hard core" of economic and social rights. Still, the article posits that the possibilities of promoting the constitutional status of economic and social rights through case-to-case litigation are limited and calls for the renewal of the legislation procedures of draft Basic Law: Social Rights in the Knesset.
Keywords: social rights, israel, basic law, judicial activism
JEL Classification: K10, K30, K33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation