THE STATE: The Law of the Land


 Israel's Declaration of Independence



  • The Knesset (1958)
  • State Lands (1960)
  • The President (1964)
  • The Government (1968/2001)
  • The State Economy (1975)
  • Israel Defense Forces (1976)
  • Jerusalem (1980)
  • The Judiciary (1984)
  • The State Comptroller (1988)
  • Human Dignity and Liberty (1992)
  • Freedom of Occupation (1992)

The normative superiority of Basic Laws over ordinary legislation was confirmed in1995, when the Supreme Court assumed the power of judicial review of Knesset legislation violating a Basic Law.

Over the years, a body of case law has developed through Supreme Court rulings which protect civil liberties, including freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of religion, and equality as fundamental values of Israel’s legal system.

In its capacity as the High Court of Justice, the Supreme Court also hears petitions brought by individuals appealing for redress against any government body or agent.​


The government’s legal service is headed by the attorneygeneral, who holds exclusive power to represent the state in all major criminal, civil, and administrative matters. The government is bound to abstain from any action which, in the opinion of the attorney-general, is unlawful, as long as the courts do not rule otherwise.

Although appointed by the government, the attorney-general functions independently of the political system.

GovXParagraph4​The State Comptroller’s Office, established by law (1949) to assure public accountability, carries out external audit and reports on the legality, regularity, economy, efficiency, effectiveness and moral integrity of public administration.

Since 1971, the state comptroller also serves as ombudsman, receiving complaints from the public against state or public bodies subject to the comptroller’s audit. The state comptroller is elected by the Knesset in a secret ballot for a seven-year term and is responsible only to the Knesset.
The scope of state audit includes the activities of all government ministries, state institutions, branches of the defense establishment, local authorities, government corporations, etc. In addition, the state comptroller is empowered by law to inspect the financial affairs of the political parties represented in the Knesset, as well as their election campaign accounts, imposing monetary sanctions when irregularities are found.