Thursday, May 6th | 24 Iyyar 5781

March 24, 2017 5:15 pm

Ex-Israeli Supreme Court President: World Is Learning From Jewish State About Protecting Human Rights During Times of Terror

avatar by Barney Breen-Portnoy

The Israeli Supreme Court building in Jerusalem. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

The Jewish state is a global human rights leader that is serving as an example to others as terrorism continues to plague the world, a prominent former Israeli Supreme Court president said this week, the Hebrew newspaper Makor Rishon reported.

“I was invited to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, and 300 judges there asked me how to defend human rights in a period of terror,” retired Justice Aharon Barak recounted at an event at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. “They are at a loss.”

“In Israel,” he went on to say, “we have been able to manage better than others to protect human rights. Even though we have security problems, we — Israeli society, the Knesset and the courts — have always been able to recognize the existence of human rights. All of the major Supreme Court rulings have followed this line, and today they are being studied around the world.”

“Toward the end of the 20th century, there was a tremendous blossoming of human rights, but today I’m worried about the future of human rights in the world,” the 80-year-old Barak — who headed the Israeli Supreme Court from 1995 to 2006 — noted. “The issues of refugees and terror [have] a great chance of harming human rights. Constitutional and supreme courts [in other countries] still do not know how to deal with them.”

At the same event, Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit agreed with Barak that Israel was in good shape in terms of human rights. But, Mandelblit emphasized, human rights do not take precedence over all other values. “Human rights are not a recipe for national suicide,” he said. “We must be balanced. Human rights don’t always prevail, but they have to be taken into account.”

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