Human rights in Israel
Israel is a Western parliamentary democracy
that places great importance on respect for human rights. Like other democracies, it is governed by the rule of law and maintains the separation of powers between the executive, legislative and judicial branches. Israel has an open and dynamic society, with an extremely robust media as well as a vibrant and active civil society.
Israel is a free and secular country with a multi-cultural society. It guarantees all the basic liberties, including freedom of speech and freedom of religion. Fundamental human rights protections are afforded to every individual, preserved via a series of Basic Laws
which have a quasi-constitutional status and relate to all aspects of life. These Basic Laws provide the fundamental principles that guide human rights in Israel.
are both empowered and willing to intervene and impact public policy. Since the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, the Supreme Court has played an important role in the protection of human rights. The court's decisions have protected, among other liberties, freedom of speech, freedom of occupation, and equality as fundamental values of the Israeli legal system. As a result, Israelis enjoy the same civil liberties as citizens in other Western democracies.
Israel, in common with other democratic members of the international community, imposes significant restraints and monitoring instruments on its own actions, to conform to the principles of international human rights law. Israel cooperates with the various UN human rights bodies, including the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. The Jewish state has signed and ratified six of the human right treaty bodies that monitor implementation of the core international human right treaties: International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD), International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR), Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT), Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, monitored by the Human Rights Committee (CCPR). The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) has been signed but not yet ratified.
The most basic obligation of the State of Israel - and of every country - is to protect the right to life of each of its citizens. Israel has kept its democracy strong by maintaining the delicate balance between its security needs and those of human rights.
Unlike most other democracies, Israel faces challenges to its very existence that are ongoing and persistent. Given the ongoing conflict imposed upon it, the strength of Israel's democratic nature is noteworthy. Few states have withstood such a sustained onslaught, yet managed to keep their democratic principles and values intact. The ongoing terrorist attacks that target Israeli citizens may strain the democratic fabric, yet even in its most difficult days Israel has not allowed that fabric to tear.
Israel is indeed a state in which the majority of the citizens are Jewish; however, it has always upheld democratic values equally with the values of the Jewish state. This principle is anchored in Israel's Declaration of Independence. The Supreme Court has expanded on the interpretation of the principle of equality, considering it as a fundamental right included in the Basic Law: Human Dignity and Freedom