Press Release

Israel Democracy Institute Against Extending Emergency Ordinance

Policy statement explains ordinance harms rights of individuals suspected of security crimes.

Israel Democracy Institute experts sent members of the Ministerial Committee on Legislation a policy statement (click here, in Hebrew) coming out against the proposal on extending the emergency ordinance regarding those arrested for security violations. The ordinance was undergoing deliberations this afternoon, Nov. 1.

In the policy statement, which was signed by Professor Mordechai Kremnitzer and Attorney Lina Saba-Habesch, the writers claim that the emergency ordinance proposal harms the most basic rights of detainees to a fair legal process. It also violates a ruling by the Supreme Court on the matter, which established the need for consistent judicial oversight in order to ensure a detainee's rights. This is especially the case when it comes to those detained for security crimes, as in those cases it is possible for security officials to exercise additional investigative methods not allowed to be used on those accused of other crimes.

Kremnitzer and Saba-Habesch explain this emergency ordinance allows for officials to place the detainee in solitary confinement, cutting him off from the rest of the world for up to four days before a judge even establishes whether or not there was enough evidence to justify his detention and investigation. Moreover, the ordinance permits for the legal process to commence and continue without the presence of the detainee, something which the writers believe the current situation does not require.

The ordinance also enables the extension of the detainees detention for up to 20 days (as opposed to 15 in regular criminal cases), without any sensible reason except that it will put pressure on the defendant.

The result of this regulation, when combined with other rules, is that the detainee may be cut off for up to three weeks, during which time various and harsh approaches may be used to question him and he will be denied the most basic rights, which are inherent to other detainees.

In conclusion, the policy statement recommends that until the Knesset has completed deliberations on the law relating to the struggle against terrorism – which is being currently debated – there should be a number of changes to the emergency ordinance, if it is once again going to be renewed. These are:

  1. Detention should be no more than 48 hours, by which time the detainee should be brought before a judge.
  2. There should be no deliberations without the presence of the detainees.
  3. The detainee should be allowed to file an appeal up to 30 days after being detained, as is the case regarding other suspected criminals.
  4. The option of extending the detention to 20 days should be cancelled and remain the standard 15 days given in other similar circumstances.

For more information or for interviews, please contact Maayan Jaffe at or 050-718-9742.