Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty

Text of law in Hebrew and Arabic

Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty (Hebrew: חוֹק יְסוֹד: כְּבוֹד הָאָדָם וְחֵרוּתוֹ) is a Basic Law in the State of Israel, enacted to protect the country's main human rights.[1] It enjoys super-legal status, giving the Supreme Court the authority to disqualify any law contradicting it, as well as protection from Emergency Regulations.[2][3] The view of most Supreme Court judges is that the enactment of this law and of Basic Law: Freedom of Occupation began the Constitutional Revolution. According to this position, these laws marked a substantial change in the status of human rights in Israel.[4]

This law was enacted in the final days of the 12th Knesset, 17 March, 1992.[5] Shortly after it was introduced into Israeli constitutional documents, it became prevalent in humanrights discourse, as well as in freedom of speech cases.[6]


Prior to the enactment of the Basic Law there was little statutory protection of human rights in Israel. These matters were resolved through the development of common law by Supreme Court cases. The Supreme Court in this period, between Israel's founding in 1948 until the Basic Law was enacted in 1992, did not have the capacity to invalidate statutes that disproportionately violated human rights. The judgments of the Supreme Court from this period, "establish[ed] the foundation that human rights are part of Israeli law."[7]