Supreme Court of Israel

Supreme Court of Israel
בית המשפט העליון
Emblem of Israel dark blue full.svg
Emblem of Israel[1]
Established1948
LocationJerusalem, Givat Ram government quarter
Composition methodPresidential appointment upon nomination by the Judicial Selection Committee
Authorized byhttps://supreme.court.gov.il
President
CurrentlyEsther Hayut
Since2017
Deputy President
CurrentlyHanan Melcer
Since2017

The Supreme Court (Hebrew: בֵּית הַמִּשְׁפָּט הָעֶלְיוֹן, Beit HaMishpat HaElyon) is the highest court in Israel. It has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all other courts, and in some cases original jurisdiction.

The Supreme Court consists of 15 Judges, who are appointed by the President of Israel, upon nomination by the Judicial Selection Committee. Once appointed, Judges serve until retirement at the age of 70, unless they resign or are removed from office. The current President of the Supreme Court (equivalent to Chief Justice) is Esther Hayut. The Court is situated in Jerusalem's Givat Ram governmental campus, about half a kilometer from Israel's legislature, the Knesset.

When ruling as the High Court of Justice (Hebrew: בֵּית מִשְׁפָּט גָּבוֹהַּ לְצֶדֶק, Beit Mishpat Gavo'ah LeTzedek; also known as its acronym Bagatz, בג"ץ), the court rules on the legality of decisions of State authorities: government decisions, those of local authorities and other bodies and persons performing public functions under the law, and direct challenges to the constitutionality of laws enacted by the Knesset. The court may review actions by state authorities outside of Israel.

By the principle of binding precedent (stare decisis), Supreme Court rulings are binding upon every other court, except itself. Over the years, it has ruled on numerous sensitive issues, some of which relate to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, the rights of Arab citizens, and discrimination between Jewish groups in Israel.

Appointment

The Supreme Court of Israel with the Prime Minister and the President

Supreme Court Judges are appointed by the President of Israel, from names submitted by the Judicial Selection Committee, which is composed of nine members: three Supreme Court Judges (including the President of the Supreme Court), two cabinet ministers (one of them being the Minister of Justice), two Knesset members, and two representatives of the Israel Bar Association. Appointing Supreme Court Judges requires a majority of 7 of the 9 committee members, or two less than the number present at the meeting.

The three organs of state—the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government—as well as the bar association are represented in the Judges' Nominations Committee. Thus, the shaping of the judicial body, through the manner of judicial appointment, is carried out by all the authorities together.

Supreme Court Judges cannot be removed from office except by a decision of the Court of Discipline, consisting of judges appointed by the President of the Supreme Court, or upon a decision of the Judicial Selection Committee—at the proposal of the Minister of Justice or the President of the Supreme Court—with the agreement of seven of its nine members.[2]