ACRI Legal Landmarks

Photo by Melanie TakefmanPhoto by Melanie Takefman

 

 

The following is a summary of only some of ACRI’s litigation highlights and successes since 1972. ACRI has been instrumental in bringing key precedent-setting cases to the courts to promote equality, democracy, human rights, and civil liberties.

 

 

 

Freedom of Expression

Equality for Arab Citizens

Citizenship

Right to Education

LGBTQ Rights

Human Rights in the Occupied Territory

Migrant Workers’ Rights

Rights of Prisoners

Freedom of and from Religion

Gender Equality

Labor Rights

Rule of Law

Right to Bodily Integrity

Right to Vote

Right to Equality

Right to Privacy

 

FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION

 

  • ACRI successfully appealed to the Supreme Court against the Jerusalem Police regarding their decision to prevent the Temple Mount Faithful from holding a prayer service and demonstration at the entrance of the Temple Mount. (1983)

 

  • ACRI’s petition to the Supreme Court resulted in the abolishment of censorship of theatrical plays. (1986)

 

  • ACRI successfully appealed to the Supreme Court against the Mayor of Be’er Sheva’s attempt to prevent the hanging of signs and posters critical of the Mayor’s policies. (1999)

 

  • ACRI won a significant judgment expanding the protection of freedom of expression in which the Supreme Court applied a narrow definition of what constitutes incitement to violence. (2000)

 

 

 

EQUALITY FOR ARAB CITIZENS

 

  • ACRI successfully petitioned the Attorney General’s office to disqualify a political party list running for the Upper Nazareth City Council, contending that the party was inciting illegal racism against Arabs. ACRI’s petition led to the Attorney General’s successful appeal to the Supreme Court and the subsequent banning of the racist party. This marked the first time that a party list had been disqualified because of incitement in municipal elections. (1998)

 

  • ACRI successfully petitioned the Supreme Court demanding the equal provision of rent support for Arab and Jewish families, under parallel circumstances. (1999)

 

  • ACRI and Adalah successfully petitioned the Supreme Court against various local authorities, demanding that municipal signs in localities with mixed Jewish and Arab populations appear in Arabic as well as in Hebrew. (1999)

 

  • In response to ACRI’s petition, the Supreme Court issued a landmark decision prohibiting the preferential allocation of state land to Jewish citizens. The ruling, also known as the Kaadan ruling, represents the first time in the history of the state that the Arab community’s equal right to state allocated land was articulated by the courts. (2000)

 

  • ACRI won a landmark decision in the Supreme Court guaranteeing fair representation to Arab citizens in the Israel Lands Authority’s. In addition, the court articulated the need to implement affirmative action to ensure the presence of Arab citizens on official decision-making bodies. (2001)

 

  • ACRI challenged the Central Election Committee and succeeded in overturning the ban on election campaign broadcast material in which the Palestinian flag appeared. (2003)

 


CITIZENSHIP

 

  • ACRI successfully petitioned on behalf of an immigrant soldier to reinstate his citizenship status that was revoked because, although he was Jewish by birth, he had initially informed the population registration authorities that he was Christian. (1999)

 

 

 

  • In response to a petition submitted by ACRI, the Jerusalem Administrative Court issued a precedent-setting ruling ordering the Interior Ministry to begin the graduated naturalization procedure for foreign common-law spouses of Israeli citizens who are separated but not yet officially divorced from their former partners. This ruling marks an important step toward the State’s gradual recognition of common-law relationships, specifically those in which one partner is not an Israeli citizen. (2007)

 

 

RIGHT TO EDUCATION

 

  • The Supreme Court ordered the Education Ministry to find an immediate solution ahead of the new academic year for a school in Shoafat, located next to a polluting factory. The justices stated that it would be considered intolerable to open the school next week under the current circumstances. The appeal was made by ACRI and partner organization Adam Teva V’Din-Israel Union for Environmental Defense. (2009)

 

  • The High Court of Justice ruled in ACRI’s favor in a petition concerning the failure of the authorities to provide free public education for children in East Jerusalem. The landmark decision was made in response to a 2008 petition filed by the ACRI on behalf of five Palestinian families from East Jerusalem, who attempted to register their children to public schools but were turned away due to lack of classroom space. Like thousands of families in East Jerusalem, they sent their children to schools where tuition is high and can reach thousands of shekels annually – defying the legal requirement of free public education. (2008)

 

LGBTQ RIGHTS

 

  • ACRI successfully appealed to the Supreme Court against the Ministry of Defense on its refusal to bestow deceased spouse benefits to the same-sex partner of a deceased military officer (Adir Steiner) (1996)

 

  • ACRI successfully appealed to the Supreme Court against the Ministry of Interior’s refusal to recognize the legal adoption of a child by his biological mother’s lesbian partner, the first time legal recognition has been granted to same-sex parents. (2000)

 

  • ACRI was successful in ensuring the granting of pension rights to surviving same-sex partners. (2000)

 

 

 

HUMAN RIGHTS IN THE OCCUPIED TERRITORIES

 

  • ACRI successfully appealed to the Supreme Court against the Military Prosecutor, demanding that General Yehuda Meir be brought to trial for ordering his soldiers to break the hands and legs of residents of two villages in the Occupied Territories. (1989)

 

  • ACRI successfully appealed to the Supreme Court on behalf of the right to due process of 415 Hamas activists who were expelled from Israel. (1992)

 

  • ACRI successfully appealed to the Supreme Court against the Minister of Defense, demanding recognition for residents of the Occupied Territories to appeal house demolition orders. (1992)

 

 

  • As a result of ACRI’s Supreme Court petition, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) were prohibited from holding a detainee for eighteen, or even twelve days, without bringing him or her before a judge. Although the court did not articulate a specific time period, the IDF revised their order to require that a detainee be brought before a judge within eight days of his arrival at a detention facility. In addition, the court ruled that there should be no undue delays in conducting a preliminary inquiry as to the reasons for the detention. (2002)

 

  • ACRI’s petition to the Supreme Court regarding the conditions at the Ofer detention facility resulted in a clearly articulated ruling that security needs do not justify violations of minimally humane conditions of detention and mandated improved conditions. (2002)

 

  • ACRI, in conjunction with other human rights organizations, succeeded in obtaining a landmark ruling by the Supreme Court obligating the IDF to honor international human rights during armed conflict. The court called on the army to ensure a constant supply of food and water, access to dignified burial, and medical care. (2004)

 

 

  • ACRI secured a precedent-setting decision by the Supreme Court ordering the Israeli security forces to protect Palestinian farmers, and their property, from attacks by violent settlers, and to act immediately and decisively to permanently uproot this phenomenon. (2006)

 

  • ACRI, as part of a coalition of nine human rights organizations, successfully petitioned the Supreme Court against the amendment to the Civil Wrongs (Liability of the State) Law, which exempts Israel from paying compensation to Palestinians in the Occupied Territories who have been injured by the Israeli military. The Court’s landmark decision nullified the provision exempting the State from paying damages to Palestinians who suffered harm in areas defined as “conflict zones”. (2006)

 

  • In response to a petition and subsequent contempt of court motion submitted by ACRI, the High Court of Justice ordered the State to dismantle a secondary barrier in the Palestinian village of Ni’lin. The barrier was purportedly set up to protect Israeli settlers in the area. While it would prevent the passage of agricultural vehicles and flocks of animals to residents’ lands, it would not prevent a terrorist from crossing and would create a strip of firing positions along the road. The barrier was finally dismantled in August 2007. (2007)

 

  • In its first ruling on segregated roads, the High Court of Justice accepted a petition submitted by ACRI on behalf of the residents of 22 villages in the South Hebron Hills, against a military order prohibiting Palestinians’ movement on the area’s main thoroughfare, connecting Beit Awa, Dura, and Hebron. (2009)

 

 

  • Following a petition submitted by B’Tselem and ACRI in 2003, demanding that the Judge Advocate General (JAG) order the Military Police to launch an investigation into an incident in which Palestinian citizens who did not take part in the fighting were killed, the High Court of Justice stressed that the army must investigate every case in which killing of Palestinian raised suspicions of breach of law. The High Court rejected the petition because it became redundant after the JAG changed the investigations policy in April 2011, instated in light of the drop in hostilities. According to this new policy, the Military Police Investigation Unit (MPIU) will launch an investigation into every incident in which a Palestinian who was not participating in the fight was killed in the West Bank. (2011)

 

 

MIGRANT WORKERS’ RIGHTS

 

  • ACRI petitioned the Supreme Court demanding that the police investigate complaints by foreign workers that employers or employment agencies withheld their passports. The petition led to the preparation of a police procedure for processing such complaints. (1997)

 

  • As a result of a petition submitted by ACRI to redress the lack of judicial oversight of the detention procedures for illegal migrant residents, the Ministry of the Interior prepared an amendment to The Law of Citizenship and Entry into Israel that regularized the issue of detention and deportation. The ministry also established an administrative review panel to provide every detainee with the opportunity to contest his/her detention within 14 days of their incarceration. (1999)

 

  • ACRI successfully intervened as amicus curiae (friend of the court) in a Supreme Court petition to bring about the cancellation of a guarantee that had been required of every employer of a foreign worker. The harsh guarantee aimed to ensure the foreign worker’s departure from Israel at the end of the employment contract and created conditions of servitude for the foreign workers. (2000)

 

  • As a result of a principled petition submitted to the Supreme Court by ACRI, in partnership with a coalition of human rights organizations, the court ordered the cancellation of the binding arrangement which forces migrant workers to remain with one specific employer, or face the revocation of their work visa. The state was allocated six months to prepare an alternative arrangement that does not undermine the basic rights of the workers. (2006)

 

  • In her last ruling as a High Court Justice, Ayala Procaccia ordered to annul the regulation regarding the status of pregnant migrant workers. The regulation stipulates that a migrant worker, who is legally residing in Israel, will lose her permit should she become pregnant or give birth, and that she must leave the country and can only return without her newborn child. The petition against the regulation was submitted in 2005 by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), Kav Laoved, Hotline for Migrant Workers, Naamat, and Physicians for Human Rights – Israel. (2011)

 

 

RIGHTS OF PRISONERS

 

  • Following a petition submitted by ACRI and by Physicians for Human Rights – Israel, the High Court of Justice prohibited the sleeping of prisoners on the floor and required the State to provide a bed to every prisoner starting July 1, 2007. (2007)

 

 

 

FREEDOM OF AND FROM RELIGION

 

  • ACRI prevailed in a petition filed in the Supreme Court demanding recognition of non-Orthodox conversions performed outside Israel for the purpose of registration of citizenship status in Israel. (1987)

 

  • ACRI successfully appealed to the Supreme Court against the refusal of the Minister of Religious Affairs to appoint women to serve on a religious council. (1987)

 

  • ACRI successfully appealed to the Supreme Court to allow the licensing of secular burial societies. (1989)

 

  • ACRI successfully petitioned the Supreme Court for the recognition of the right of Conservative and Reform Jews to serve on religious councils. (1989)

 

  • ACRI successfully appealed to the Supreme Court to permit movie theaters in Netanya to operate on Friday nights. (1991)

 

  • ACRI successfully demanded recognition of Reform conversions to Judaism performed in Israel in registering citizens as Jewish in the Population Registry. (1993)

 

 

GENDER EQUALITY

 

  • ACRI successfully appealed to the Supreme Court demanding a change in policy that required women to retire from the workplace at age 60 while allowing men to retire at age 65. (1987)

 

  • ACRI successfully petitioned the Supreme Court together with the Israel Women’s Network for the right of women to participate in Air Force pilot aptitude tests. (1994)

 

  • ACRI won a judgment against El Al airlines in the Tel Aviv Labor Court prohibiting the airline from refusing to consider a female pilot as a candidate for a position on the basis of gender. (1996)

 

 

LABOR RIGHTS

 

  • ACRI submitted a petition to the Supreme Court demanding that the Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Labor cease to post discriminatory job postings through its national employment service. ACRI emphasized that discrimination against job candidates on the basis of age is strictly forbidden by the Equal Opportunities at Work Law and is a criminal offense. By agreeing to accept and consider discriminatory requests by employers, the Employment Service Bureau and its staff are perpetuating discrimination that is already rampant in the Israeli job market. In a hearing on the petition in April 2008, the Employment Service Bureau pledged to end the practice of posting job postings that perpetuate age discrimination. (2007)

 

 RULE OF LAW

 

  • For the first time in the history of the State, the Supreme Court repealed a law because it violated the Basic Law of Human Dignity and Liberty. The Supreme Court ruled that the Military Jurisdiction Law passed by the Knesset, establishing the number of days soldiers can be detained prior to being brought before a judge, violates that basic law. (2000)

 

 

RIGHT TO BODILY INTEGRITY

 

 

 

RIGHT TO VOTE

 

  • ACRI’s Supreme Court petition demanding that prisoners be entitled to exercise their right to vote, which was rejected by the court, served as the catalyst for a law that was subsequently enacted enshrining this right. (1984)

 

 

RIGHT TO EQUALITY

 

  • ACRI, together with other social change organizations, brought about the repeal of the state decision to link parents’ military service to the allocation of child allowance. The implementation of the decision would have violated the right to equality of people with disabilities, Arabs, and new immigrants who do not perform military service. (2003)

 

 

RIGHT TO PRIVACY

 

  • As a result of ACRI’s litigation, the state imposed regulations restricting access of government offices and commercial banks to confidential personal information in the Population Registry. (2004)

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