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Articles

Article

Could Profiling Prevent Another Orlando Shooting?

Often missed in the civil liberties debate over profiling is evidence that shows it is not effective. But proponents point to Israel, whose airport screening has kept it free of attacks since 1972.

Op-ed

High Court Seems to Think That Only Arabs Need Deterrence

The Israeli High Court's claim that home demolitions need not be applied to Jews because they support terror less than Palestinians must be rejected. (This article was originally published by Haaretz.)

Article

Investigating Allegations of Violations of the Laws of War by the IDF during Operation Protective Edge: The Alternatives Available to Israel

How should suspected violations of the international laws of war be investigated? As Operation Protective Edge winds down, Prof. Yuval Shany and Prof. Amichai Cohen discuss the options of an internal investigation by the IDF, an international investigation, and an Israeli commission of inquiry.

Article

Cyber-Terrorism

An abridged version of a Hebrew article on cyber-terrorism that was originally published in IDI's Hebrew Parliament on-line journal.

Press Release

Women in the Military

Prof. Yedidia Stern: "These rabbis, who loudly extol the virtues of Jewish statehood, do not hesitate to drag the people’s army into the arena of conflict with their irresponsible statements."

Op-ed

Time for Home Demolitions to be Tested by the Supreme Court

Are home demolitions legal? And are they effective? Both IDF commanders and Israeli Supreme Court judges have raised doubts on the matter. In an op-ed published by The Jerusalem Post, IDI's Tal Mimran says the time has come to reevaluate Israeli policy.

Op-ed

What this war is about and how it will end

Parallel to negotiations, a process, designed to create a two-state reality through independent and unconditional steps, must be implemented

Policy Statement

IDI Submission to the UN's International Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza Conflict

Submitted to the UN International Commission of Inquiry on February 11, 2015, this document details the role of lawyers within the Israeli Defense Forces in implementing and enforcing International Humanitarian Law within the IDF.

Op-ed

The Role of a Legal Advisor during Times of Combat

IDI Researcher Attorney Eli Bahar discusses the central role that members of Israel's system of legal counsel play in formulating the rules of what is permissible during warfare in real time, during the fighting, in order to ensure that Israel's citizens will not be ashamed of themselves after the fighting ceases. 

Policy Statement

Operation Protective Edge and International Law

As Operation Protective Edge enters its second week, IDI experts outline the legal basic concepts involved in asymmetrical warfare and the boundaries of permissible action according to standard interpretations of existing international law.

Op-ed

Investigating Allegations of Violations of the Laws of War by the IDF during Operation Protective Edge: The Alternatives Available to Israel

How should suspected violations of the international laws of war be investigated? As Operation Protective Edge winds down, Prof. Yuval Shany and Prof. Amichai Cohen discuss the options of an internal investigation by the IDF, an international investigation, and an Israeli commission of inquiry.

Op-ed

Releasing Terrorists: An Insult to the Criminal Justice System

In an article in <em>Haaretz</em>, attorney Amir Fuchs explains why he believes the release of convicted terrorists as part of prisoner release deals or  as part of diplomatic negotiations degrades Israel's criminal justice system.

Op-ed

The Security Check Appeal: Another Extension of the Judgment

Eli Bahar, former legal adviser to the General Security Service, analyzes the Israeli Supreme Court’s decision to postpone ruling on a petition requesting the elimination of ethnic security checks in Israeli airports.

Op-ed

The Goldstone Retraction: Better Late than Never, and an Opportunity to Reconsider

Judge Richard Goldstone’s retraction of his commission's finding that Israeli actions in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead deliberately targeted civilians righted a historical injustice. But did the actions of the State of Israel contribute to the false impression received by the Goldstone Commission? In this op-ed, IDI Senior Fellow Prof. Yuval Shany explores the question of whether the Israeli government should also search its soul and consider participation in future international commissions of inquiry.

Op-ed

The Counter-Terrorism Memorandum Bill

An analysis of the proposed comprehensive counter-terrorism bill that was prepared by IDI's Terrorism and Democracy research team and submitted to the Ministry of Justice.

Press Release

Plesner: 'Political Echelon has Obligation to Support IDF Senior Commanders'

IDI President speaks out after heated conversation between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon goes public.

Press Release

IDI Scholars on the Terrorist Death Penalty Bill:

Ahead Sunday's vote in the Ministerial Committee on Legislation on whether or not the death penalty should be used against terrorists, two IDI scholars are calling on ministers to oppose the legislation.

Press Release

Prof. Amichai Cohen Warns about International Intervention in Israeli Investigation of Operation Protective Edge

Upon the release of the findings of the international investigation of Operation Protective Edge: IDI warns that the intervention by international bodies in the investigation of the events of the Operation in Gaza undermines the basis of the international demand to establish investigative mechanisms and weakens the Israeli legal system.

Article

The Winning Strategy

Victory in today’s open-ended asymmetric wars is not obtained just on the military front, but must also take into account international legitimization, media perceptions and national resilience, say Ami Ayalon and Eli Bahar of IDI’s Center for National Security and Democracy.

Op-ed

Under the Radar Screen?

Israel's security agencies have sweeping surveillance powers, but are subjected to few checks and balances.

Op-ed

Two Surprising Lessons of the Six-Day War

Basics such as bread and cooking oil began to disappear from the shelves. The Egyptian street boiled with anger. And the foundations of the regime began to shake.

Article

And What If He Was Your Son?

In a poignant op-ed, published by the Jewish Journal, Dr. Idit Shafran Gittleman confronts the issue of the price a country should pay to bring home its captive soldiers, including those who have been declared dead.

Op-ed

Will an Amendment to Israel's National Security Law Change the Rules of the Game?

In the US and more recently in Israel there is public discussion over the principled issues of the balance between the different branches of government in matters of national security and the proper mechanism to create accountability in these matters are universal. 

Op-ed

Knesset Considers Changing Law to Apply Death Penalty to Convicted Terrorists

A recent Knesset bill that would introduce the death sentence for terror-related murder in Israel has broken the decades of relative silence on the matter. 

Article

A People’s Army Amidst Social Change

Despite the transformation of Israeli society, the IDF’s model of service has not changed. Military service continues to be a rite of passage for young Israelis and the IDF retains its status as the most trusted institution in Israel. Prof. Yuval Shany, Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Orna Barbivai and Prof. Amichai Cohen sit down to discuss the challenges facing the IDF and Israeli society in a changing security environment.

Article

Is Israel Justified In Shooting Protestors At Its Border?

Beyond the important political, humanitarian and moral issues raised by the “Great Return March” and the IDF’s response, complicated legal issues also present themselves. 

Article

Supreme Court Dismisses a Petition Against Gaza Rules of Engagement

The Supreme Court of Israel recently dismissed a petition against the rules of engagement governing use of force by the Israeli security forces in the violent clashes in Gaza

Article

Analysis of Israel’s Supreme Court Decision Allowing Lethal Force in Gaza

The case of Yesh Din vs. The Chief of the General Staff HCJ 3003/18

Article

In Israeli Residency Case, Individual Responsibility vs. Collective Punishment

While collective harm may be justified in some circumstances, collective punishment should never be allowed: one person’s rights should not be taken hostage to influence the behavior of others.

Press Release

If Meitav's Website Was Hacked - the Breach Was Almost Inevitable

The breach of IDF’s Meitav website was almost inevitable, in light of inadequate attention to the need to protect sensitive personal information and the lack of supporting legislation in Israel.

Podcast

Private Eyes: Data, Metadata and Civil Rights

Professor Yuval Shany discusses the seeming dissonance between Israel's advanced surveillance technology, the minimal restrictions on using it, and a citizenry that hardly cares– and why all this might have to change

Anti-Terrorism Legislation in Britain and the U.S. after 9/11

Democratic countries around the world are struggling to effectively fight terror without compromising basic human rights and freedoms – the essential democratic values. In this article from IDI's Hebrew online journal Parliament, IDI's Yogev Tuval presents an analysis and comparison of post-9/11 anti-terrorism legislation in the United States and Britain, and explains how certain laws threaten democracy.

Op-ed

Elections in the Shadow of War (2012)

Israel's launch of Operation "Pillar of Defense" just before the elections for the 19th Knesset is reminiscent of the launch of "Operation Cast Lead" before the elections of 2009. Should the elections be postponed? Dr. Dana Blander discusses elections during times of war, in Israel and abroad, from an historical-legal perspective.

Article

Doves and Hawks in Israeli Society: Stances on National Security

How central is the security question among the general Israeli public, and to what extent is it central in party eyes? What are the estimated percentages of citizens in Israel who associate themselves with the right and left camps? This article explores these questions and associates Israel's right and left political camps with their perceptions of security-related issues. 

Op-ed

Crossing the Syrian-Israeli Border: Acts of War or Disturbances?

The violent incidents that took place on the Israeli-Syrian border in June 2011 raise the question of how the Israel Defense Forces should deal with violent events that resemble disturbances while at the same time affecting important Israeli security interests. IDI Senior Fellow Prof. Yuval Shany offers his analysis of the Israeli response to these events.

Op-ed

The Hebron Shooter is not Israel’s Poster Child

In this op-ed IDI's Amichay Ayalon and Idit Shafran-Gittleman argue that the challenge of combatting terrorism requires security concerns to be weighed against the values of a free society. The prevailing attitude among supporters of Hebron shooter Elor Azaria of allowing the security mantra to trump any other concerns may lead to short-term military success, but will be a moral loss for Israel, both on the home front and in the international sphere. This op-ed originally appeared in Haaretz.

Op-ed

How Not to Achieve Coexistence

Arab elected officials have disappointed the public time after time with their lack of professionalism in how they lead their constituents toward political change. (This article was originally published by the Jerusalem Post.)

Op-ed

The Voice of Our Brothers' Blood

The whole world must be the arena of the war against antisemitism and the Jewish nation-state must serve as the supreme commander in this universal conflict.

Press Release

Will Israel go to war in the coming months?

The monthly Peace Index of the Israel Democracy Institute and Tel Aviv University, published today, finds that the Israeli public split on prospect of war in the coming months

Op-ed

‘Special Interrogations,’ Confessions and the Duma Arson Attack

The Lod district court decision illustrates the possible dangers to criminal defendant’s human rights though the expanding defense of necessity and the lack of separation between the preventive and criminal phases of the investigation.

Article

Can an Ex-Senior IDF Lawyer Transform Administrative Detention?

"Even a bit more justice than now is better" said Liron Libman in an interview on administrative detention.

Article

Two States for Two People? A Long Decline in Support

For the past few decades, support and opposition to a two state solution has been a fault line dividing people and parties in Israel. Dr. William Cubbison presents an overview of the level of Jewish support in the 25 years since the signing of the Oslo Accords.

Research reel

Security and Democracy in the Modern Era

Israel has been in a state of emergency since 1948. But the nature of the threat has changed over-time—from full-scale military invasions to isolated airplane hijackings, from suicide bombings to missile attacks, and most recently, cyber and lone wolf terrorism.
These ever-evolving threats necessitate new responses and strategies.

Press Release

54% of Israelis: If Hamas Ceases Violence, Israel Should Support Establishment of Port, Airport in Gaza

Op-ed

The Status of the West Bank Settlements Under International Law

Prof. Frances Raday and Adv. Ido Rosenzweig analyze the conclusion of the Israeli government's committee on the status of Israeli building in the West Bank, which was headed by former Justice Edmond Levy, and raise questions based on International Law and United Nations resolutions.

Press Release

Will Trump’s Peace Plan Gain Traction?

The monthly Peace Index of the Israel Democracy Institute and Tel Aviv University, published today, finds that most Israelis think that Trump’s peace plan won’t gain traction and that the IDF should directly target ‘terror kite’ assailants.

Article

Clarifying the IDF’s Record During the Gaza Riots

Israel’s supporters, who have the nation’s best interests at heart, should resist the urge to engage in partisan smear campaigns that attempt to tarnish the reputations of patriots who are on the frontlines of the struggle for Israel’s legitimacy as a Jewish and democratic state. We have enough enemies on our borders.

Article

The Conscription Plan: Taking the Easy Route to Inequality

Though many ultra-Orthodox politicians expressed outrage at the original publishing of this new bill, some view the proposal as a double achievement.

Press Release

The Facebook Bill Must Be Amended so that it Can Serve Its Original Purpose

The Israel Democracy Institute applauds Prime Minister Netanyahu’s decision to reevaluate the Facebook Law which was initially formulated to help fight terrorism, but evolved into a draconian law that could set back the Start-Up Nation decades in terms of freedom of speech.

Press Release

60% of Israelis Think the New Nation-State Law Should Have Included ‘Equality'

The monthly Peace Index of the Israel Democracy Institute and Tel Aviv University, published today, finds that: only 52% of Jewish Israelis think it was important to pass the Nation-State law at this time.

Press Release

The Majority of Israelis Favor Providing Syrian Victims of War with Humanitarian Aid

On the northern front: the majority of Israelis favor providing Syrian victims of war with medical aid and food. On the southern front: the majority of Israelis support a military operation if Hamas violates the ceasefire.

Article

‘Black Friday’ and Other Investigations: Initial Observations

Initial observations on Israeli's Military Advocate General's decision to conclude investigation into 'Black Friday'.

Article

The Role of Politicians and the Role of Attorneys

For Israel, coping with the situation in the Gaza Strip is far from simple. The way the situation is handled has security, economic, humanitarian, and political implications. Therefore leadership must act and speak responsibly - this is not always the case.

Podcast

A Kosher Military

Yohanan Plesner discusses with Tipping Point the "People's Army". Can a compromise be reached and is "sharing the burden" of military service a realistic goal? 

Press Release

Elections, Security and the Next Government

The majority of Israelis think that Trump’s decision to withdraw from Syria harms Israel’s security and want a right or center-right government. Read more in the latest Peace Index. 

Article

House Demolition at the Israeli Supreme Court: Recent Developments

In its fight against terrorism, Israel has often been proud of its ability to effectively fight terrorism, while remaining faithful to democratic principles. House demolitions were always considered a necessary evil, which could be resorted to in very exceptional circumstances - are we now facing populist trends that runs contrary to the traditional ethos of subjecting counterterrorism policies to rule-of-law constraints.

 

Peace Index: 62% of Israelis Predict Clinton Will Win U.S. Election

Sixty-two percent of Israelis expect Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton to win the U.S. election, according to the latest Peace Index, published Wednesday by the Israel Democracy Institute and Tel Aviv University.

Op-ed

Israel's wealthiest are abandoning IDF combat units

Israel's secular elite has lost its enthusiasm for combat service and now targets intelligence units, such as Unit 8200.

Press Release

Israel needs a draft law that will uphold the principle of civic equality

 

Now is the time to rise above petty politics and pass a draft law that will uphold the principle of civic equality in Israel.

 

Article

Women’s Service in the IDF: Between a ‘People’s Army’ and Gender Equality

Over the years and especially in recent decades, the concept of gender equality has also become relevant to the discussion of military service, and more and more roles have been opened up to women serving in the IDF. Dr. Idit Shafran Gittleman presents an overview of 70 years of women in the IDF.

Press Release

Three Years since Operation Protective Edge, Israeli Public Defines Israel’s Security Situation as Good

Latest Peace Index: More than half of Jewish and Arab Israelis see high chances of war between Hamas and Israel in coming year

 

Op-ed

Why Israel Should Fight with One Hand Tied Behind Its Back

In an op-ed in <em>The Jerusalem Post</em>, IDI President Yohanan Plesner stresses that Israel's adherence to international law is not a source of weakness, but rather one of its greatest strengths.

Press Release

Survey: 56% of Jews Think Most Arab Citizens Support Temple Mount Attack

Monthly Peace Index also finds that 65% of Israelis do not trust Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's handling of the crisis on Temple Mount. 

Article

The “People’s Army”?

This article presents the main milestones in the recurring attempts to put a satisfactory arrangement for the deferment of military service for yeshiva students in place. In doing so, it surfaces the changes that have occurred over time in the constitutional, legal, and public responses and attitudes on this issue.

Press Release

Is It a Very Scary Time for Young Men?

The monthly Peace Index of the Israel Democracy Institute and Tel Aviv University finds that: 44% of Jewish and Arab Israelis agree with President Trump’s statement that “It’s a very scary time for young men” – the percentage among men who agreed was significantly higher than that among women.

Op-ed

A Betrayal of International Law

In a Jerusalem Post op-ed, Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer argues that by breaching their responsibility to be impartial, the  UN Human Rights Council and its commission for investigating alleged war crimes in Gaza are betraying international law, even if unintentionally.

Op-ed

The IDF: Army of the People or Army of God?

IDI Vice President Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer addresses the question of the appropriateness of the letter that Givati Brigade commander Col.Ofer Winter sent to his subordinate officers as Israel prepared for the ground incursion in Gaza in the summer of 2014.

Op-ed

Education for Democracy as a Remedy for Violence

Attorney Amir Fuchs asserts that educating Israeli students regarding democracy and civics from a young age and throughout their education is the best way to prevent hatred, violence, and racism.

Op-ed

The "Anti-Pardon" Bill: Laws are not a Substitute for a Backbone

In an article in <em>The Times of Israel</em>, Attorney Amir Fuchs argues that legislation that would give judges the authority to sentence murderers to life in prison with no possibility of pardon is misguided and will not prevent terrorists from being released in future prisoner exchanges.

Op-ed

A Red Alert for Israeli Democracy

In the midst of Operation Protective Edge, IDI President Yohanan Plesner warns of the dangers of racism, incitement, and stifling of free speech and asserts that it is essential to internalize a substantive democratic culture. 

Op-ed

Mourning for Gazan Children Isn't Left-Wing

IDI Vice President Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer discusses the High Court of Justice's decision to uphold the Israel Broadcasting Authority's rejection of an infomercial in which the names of Gazan children who were killed in Operation Protective Edge would have been read aloud. 

Books