Beinisch: New Social Priorities Will Keep Courts Busy

Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch told a group of judges yesterday that Israeli society is undergoing a dramatic change that will inevitably bring notions of distributive justice and new priorities before the courts.

"Even if we do not take a stance on the social protest - in keeping with the caution that our judicial position requires of us, especially when it is unclear which direction it will take and where it will lead - one thing is certain: The agenda of Israeli society is in the process of change," Beinisch said at a conference of judges prior to the re-opening of the courts following their summer break.

"This is a process that we could not predict several months ago," she said, "issues of welfare, education, the question of equality in the distribution of resources, the concept of distributive justice and state priorities. These will also be brought before the courts for judgment."

Beinisch added that she had no doubt the issues stemming from the new agenda will keep the courts busy, at least on the micro level, if not on the level of economic policy.

On the subject of the recent labor agreement between the doctors union and the treasury, Beinisch said, "We can only be glad that efforts were made to improve public medicine. It appears that creating 1,000 new medical positions and emphasizing the outlying areas was an essential development, and we hope it materializes."

As an example of the new direction that Israeli society is headed in, Beinisch pointed to the dramatic changes in the makeup of the typical Israeli family: "The new family of children with two fathers, two mothers or single parents, and changes in the traditional nuclear family have shone a light on the issue of child's welfare, the rights of the child, the rights of the parents, and the need to adjust them to the reality of life. New social norms necessitate legal developments, and it is very doubtful how much legislation will be able to meet the changing needs," she said.