Forgotten Basic Elements in'The Law and Administration Ordinance'and the Covert Struggle over Religion and State in Israel

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The Law and Administration Ordinance was the first legislative act of the State of Israel, and as such it is difficult to overstate its historic significance. The ordinance was promulgated to regulate the provisional government and ensure the continuity of the law in the transition between the British Mandatory regime and the State of Israel. Although over the years the ordinance has been revised many times, and many of its clauses were annulled, various of its components are still valid in Israeli law today. The article examines archival material to study the roots of the ordinance and the transformations it underwent until it was approved at the second meeting of the Provisional State Council. Examination of the steps that led to the formulation of the ordinance, and especially the shaping of its central legal principle - preservation of the existing legal framework, with the addition of essential changes that follow from the establishment of the Jewish state, is of great benefit, above and beyond that derived from a better understanding of the manner in which the first legislative act of the state was carried out. The study reveals that several figures were actively involved in laying the foundation of the ordinance, first and foremost Zerach Warhaftig, whose contribution has been forgotten over the years. The process also concealed a struggle relating to the relationship between religion and the state in three areas. While the first manifestation of this conflict in Israeli law took place in the context of the shaping of the ordinance, its results have been part of Israeli law and society for many years.
Original languageHebrew
Pages (from-to)121-150
JournalCathedra: For the History of Eretz Israel and Its Yishuv
StatePublished - 2010

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