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Constitutions and political reconstruction? Israel's by quest for a constitution

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Chapter Summary

This chapter uses ‘constitutionalism’ to mean the aspect of regimes that distinguishes between constitutional and ordinary politics by entrenching constitutional provisions and making them harder to change than other aspects of the legal system. The chapter argues that Israel had a revolutionary political moment without a constitution, then an attempted constitutional revolution which did not seek to implement a social or a political change. The foundation of Israel was truly a political reconstruction of revolutionary dimensions. In 1948, Israel ‘incorporated’ all existing law, including the Millet system governing matters of personal status. The process of enactment of basic laws under the Harari decision was slow. The first Basic Law, relating to the Knesset, was enacted in 1958. The failure to enact a constitution was related to issues on all three levels of the constitution: the regime structure, a bill of rights and the credo part of major commitments.

Keywords: bill of rights; constitutional revolution; credo; Harari decision; Israel; Knesset; millet system; political reconstruction; regime structure



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