Nadeem Shehadeh

Since its establishment in 1948, Israel has lacked a formal constitution.  In 1951, the first Knesset decided that it would enact a series of “Basic Laws” that would eventually become the future Israeli constitution.1 This distinction placed the Basic Laws as the highest norm in the Israeli legal hierarchy.  Nothing in the Basic Laws resembled a bill of rights until 1992 and 1994 when the Knesset enacted two very important laws: The first, Basic Law - Human Dignity and Liberty2, and the second Basic Law -  Freedom of Occupation.3 These two laws were the basis of the so-called ‘constitutional revolution’ and were considered to be Israel’s mini bill of rights, since they gave constitutional protection to some human and civil rights and also gave the Israeli High Court the power to review ordinary laws enacted by the Knesset.4