High Court Decision in Erez Case


The Supreme Court of Israel, in a much criticized ruling in June 1999, decided not to consider a petition against the appointment of Lieutenant Colonel Erez to lead a highly prestigious Naval Commando unit. The controversy over this promotion stemmed from Erez's actions in a military raid in South Lebanon several years ago. During this operation, Erez ordered that a bound and unarmed Lebanese prisoner be shot in order to prevent his escape and the potential discovery of the whereabouts of the Israeli military unit. Many soldiers and others criticized his appointment because of this order, contesting the propriety of promoting a man who contravened the laws of war by ordering the shooting of a POW, where other alternatives were available to him. The Court not only dismissed the petition, filed by a soldier in Erez's unit, but also ordered the petitioner to pay court costs and legal expenses that far exceeded the usual amount. By this decision, the Court sent a clear warning signal to all petitioners who seek to challenge military appointments where IDF combat decisions are at issue, however egregious. The text of this highly controversial decision by the Court appears in translation below. 

In addition to translating the decision, Adalah initiated a two-part advocacy campaign against the court's decision. First, Adalah e-mailed the English-language translation of the opinion to a wide range of human rights organizations, law professors, and other international contacts around the world. Second, Adalah mobilized a coalition of Israeli human rights organizations including B'Tselem, The Public Committee Against Torture, Physicians for Human Rights, Rabbis for Human Rights, and HaMoked, and placed a large ad in Ha'aretz, harshly criticizing the Supreme Court's decision in the Erez Case. A few days after the publication of the ad, Aryeh Dayan, a Ha'aretz reporter, published an article on the advocacy campaign entitled "Court of Public Opinion." This article appears in Ha'aretz, 28 June 1999. 


English Translation of the Supreme Court's Decision