Law and the Culture of Israel

Menachem Mautner*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review


Within a short span of time in the course of the 1980s, the Supreme Court of Israel effected far-reaching changes in its legal doctrine and in the way it perceives its role among the state's branches. This book locates those changes in the context of the great historical process that took shape in Israel in the second half of the 1970s: the decline of the political, social, and cultural hegemony of the labor movement, and the renewal of the struggle over the future orientation of the country's culture. Two social groups have confronted each other at the heart of this struggle: a secular group that is aiming to strengthen Israel's ties to Western liberalism, and a religious group intent on associating Israel's culture with traditional Jewish heritage and the Halakhah. The Supreme Court - the institution most closely identified with liberalism since the establishment of the state - collaborated with the former group in its struggle against the latter. The story of the Court serves as the axis of another two stories. The first deals with the struggle over the cultural identity of the Jewish people throughout the course of modernity. The second is the story of the struggle over the cultural identity of Israeli law, which took place throughout the 20th century. In addition to the divide between secular and religious Jews, there is a national divide in Israel between Jews and Arabs. These two divides are interrelated in complex ways which shape the unique traits of Israel's multicultural condition. The book ends with a few suggestions as to how, given this condition, Israel's regime, political culture and law should be constituted in the coming decades. The suggestions borrow from the discourses of liberalism, multiculturalism, and republicanism.

Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages267
ISBN (Electronic)0191018430, 0191029629, 0191729183, 0199600562, 9780191029622, 9780191729188, 9780199600564
ISBN (Print)9780199600564
StatePublished - 2011


  • Arab citizens
  • Israel
  • Israeli culture
  • Judicial activism
  • Judicial review
  • Legal formalism
  • Political liberalism
  • Religious fundamentalism
  • Supreme court of israel
  • Zionism

ULI Keywords

  • uli
  • Israel -- Bet ha-mishpaṭ ha-ʻelyon
  • Culture and law -- Israel
  • Law -- Political aspects -- Israel
  • Law -- Social aspects -- Israel
  • Religion and law -- Israel
  • Israel -- Civilization
  • ישראל -- בית המשפט העליון
  • Израиль -- Бет Г'а-Мишпат Г'а-Элион
  • B.G.Ts
  • Bgʺts
  • Israel -- Maḥkamat al-Istiʼnāf al-ʻUlyā
  • Israel -- Supreme Court
  • Israel -- Bet ha-mishpat ha-gavoha lezedeq
  • Israel -- Bet ha-mishpaṭ ha-gavoha le-tsedeḳ
  • Supreme Court (Israel)
  • High Court of Justice (Israel)
  • Israel -- High Court of Justice
  • Bagaz
  • Bet ha-mishpat ha-gavoha lezedeq
  • Israel -- Cour Supreme
  • Bet ha-mishpat ha-elyon
  • Israel -- Culture
  • ישראל -- בית המשפט הגבה לצדק
  • ישראל -- בית המשפט העליון -- בית המשפט הגבה לצדק
  • בית המשפט העליון
  • Израиль -- Верховный суд
  • Верховный суд Израиля
  • Бет Г'а-Мишпат Г'а-Элион


Dive into the research topics of 'Law and the Culture of Israel'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this