Hebrew original (PDF)

The Supreme Court Sitting as a High Court of Justice


HCJ 5211/04


Before:                                   President A. Barak

                                               Vice-President E. Mazza

                                               Justice M. Cheshin


Petitioners:                            1. Mordechai Vanunu

                                               2. The Association for Civil Rights in Israel


Respondents:                       1. Head of the Home Front Command

                                               2. Minister of the Interior


Petition for an Order Nisi

Date:                                      22 Tammuz 5764 (11.7.04)


For the petitioners:               Atty. D. Yakir, Atty. O. Feller


For the respondents:            Atty. S. Nitzan




Vice-President E. Mazza:


The main purpose of this petition is the Petitioners’ request that the Court instruct Respondent 1 (Head of the Home Front Command) to cancel an order of restrictions and supervision he had issued against Petitioner 1 (the Petitioner), and instruct Respondent 2 (the Minister of the Interior) to cancel an order he had issued barring the Petitioner from leaving Israel. Further, the Petitioners ask the court to determine that the Defence (Emergency) Regulations, 1945, are null and void, and also determine that regulation 6 of the State of Emergency Regulations (Exit from the Country), 5708-1948 - as found in the annex to the Extending of the State of Emergency Regulations (Exit from the Country) Ordinance, 5709-1948 - is likewise null and void.


2. The background of this proceeding is the ‘Vanunu affair’, which has preoccupied the Court and Israeli society for the past 18 years. The main points of it are known, and I will sum them up: starting in 1976, the Petitioner was employed as a technician in a department of the Centre for Nuclear Research (CNR). During the Peace for Galilee war he formed his extremist-leftist worldview. The security agents met with him to discuss the matter, and when he found out that his name was included in the list of scheduled layoffs it intensified his negative attitude towards the State of Israel in general and the CNR in particular. Finally, in late 1985, Petitioner resigned from the CNR of his own initiative and left Israel. He went first to Thailand and then to Sydney, Australia, where he changed his religion. Petitioner had secret information about the CNR, which he had acquired and gathered without permission during his work there, as well as photographs of premises and installations in the CNR which he had taken in secret. Petitioner had resolved to have the photos published and to reveal and publish his secret information. With this aim in mind he sought to contact a journalist who would help him carry out his scheme. A journalist he met in Australia put him in touch with Peter Hounam, a correspondent of the Sunday Times of London. Hounam was interested in the Petitioner’s information and photographs and they went to London together. In London Petitioner revealed to Hounam and the newspaper’s investigators (including an expert named Frank Barnaby) highly secret information about the CNR, and gave them his photographs. When the Israel embassy in London, in reponse to questions from the newspaper, confirmed that the Petitioner had in fact been employed in the CNR, the Sunday Times published (on 5.10.1986) a prominent story, illustrated with photographs from the site of the CNR, including an extensive description of the work of the CNR, based on the Petitioner’s revelations.


For turning over the secret information and the photographs to unauthorized elements, the Petitioner was tried by the District Court in Jerusalem. Having heard the evidence, the Court convicted the Petitioner of aiding the enemy in its war against Israel, providing secret information with the aim of harming the State’s security, collecting secret information with the said aim - which constitute offences against sections 99, 113(b) and 113(c) of the Penal Law, 5737-1977. Having convicted him of the said offences, the Court sentenced the Petitioner (on 27.3.1988) to 18 years imprisonment, beginning 7.10.1986. The Petitioner’s appeal against his conviction and against the severity of his sentence was dismissed (CrimA 172/88 Vanunu v. State of Israel, IsrSC 43(3) 265); having had all his requests for parole turned down, the Petitioner served almost the entire term of his prison sentence, and was released on 21.4.2004.


3. The two orders against which the present petition was filed were issued on 19.4.2004 - i.e., two days prior to the Petitioner’s release from prison. The order of restriction and supervision was issued by the Head of the Home Front Command, using his authority based on regulation 6(2) of the Defence (Emergency) Regulations, 1945,  and based on regulations 108, 109 and 110 of the said regulations. The order states that it is ‘required and imperative for the defence of the State of Israel’. It orders that during the first six months after his release from prison the Petitioner will be subject to supervision by the Israeli police, and imposes restrictions on his freedom of movement: he is required to inform the police in advance of any change in his place of residence, and of his intention to spend the night other than in his known place of residence. The order also prohibits the Petitioner to approach without prior permission within 500 metres of places listed in an annex to the order (airports, marinas, overland border crossings and international borders) from which it is possible to leave the State of Israel, including the territories of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza district. Furthermore, the order prohibits the Petitioner to enter (or try to enter) without prior permission any of the foreign diplomatic representations in Israel, to maintain contacts or exchange information by any means whatsoever with foreign nationals or residents, or to take part in Internet chatrooms.


The order barring the Petitioner from leaving the country was issued by the Minister of the Interior using his authority based on regulation 6 of the State of Emergency Regulations (Exit from the Country), 5708-1948. The order states that the Minister is convinced that there is a real risk that the Petitioner’s leaving the country might harm the security of the State, and having considered the arguments brought forward by the Petitioner and his attorney against the order and finding them unconvincing, has ordered to bar the Petitioner from leaving the country for twelve months from the issuance of the order.


4. The necessity of imposing restrictions on the Petitioner - barring his exit from the country and restricting his movements and contacts within the country - was concluded by the Respondents several months before the date set for his release from prison. Security agencies had assessed for some time that after his release the Petitioner might again publish secret information, which if made public could jeopardize the State’s highest security concerns. Statements made by the Petitioner during his investigation and at his trial, letters he sent from his cell to various elements in Israel and abroad, and intelligence information gathered about him during his imprisonment, all suggested that seemingly not all the secret information which had reached the Petitioner and been gathered by him until the day he quit his job at the NRC was given to the Sunday Times newspaper and published. It was estimated that additional secret information, which he had not turned over, remained hidden in his heart and memory, and that following his release from prison the Petitioner may publish this additional information too. Concern that Petitioner intends and is capable of continuing to harm the security of the State of Israel after his release from prison also affected the decisions of the parole board and the courts, which repeatedly rejected all of Petitioner’s appeals for early release. As the date of his release drew near, security agencies once again analysed the material gathered about the Petitioner, including recent material they had seized in his cell, and their assessment of the risk to Israel’s vital security interests was reinforced.


With this background in mind, consideration was given to various ways of restricting the Petitioner’s movements and contacts. The option of placing Petitioner in administrative detention following his release was considered, but rejected due to the extreme severity of completely denying his freedom at the end of the long prison term he had served. Security agencies wanted to impose tight restrictions on Petitioner’s movements, but the Attorney General’s opinion led to the decision to impose more moderate restrictions. On 28.3.2004, the Minister of the Interior informed Petitioner that he was considering barring his exit from the country for twelve months after his release from prison. On 4.4.2004 the Head of the Home Front Command informed Petitioner that he was considering imposing on him various restrictions, itemized in the letter, for six months after his release. Petitioner and his attorney presented their objections to the Minister of the Interior and to the Head of the Home Front Command concerning the intention of issuing these orders against the Petitioner. Rejecting the objections to his intention of barring Petitioner from leaving the country, the Minister of the Interior noted that information given him by the security agencies showed that during his work in the NRC Petitioner was exposed to state secrets some of which he had not turned over and had not been published. He also noted that statements made by Petitioner at his trial, letters he wrote during his imprisonment, and material he had prepared during his imprisonment showed that there was real danger and high probability that were he to leave Israel after his release, Petitioner might reveal state secrets which had not yet been turned over or published. The Minister added that he had also weighed the degree of injury caused the Petitioner by the order and came to the conclusion that in balancing the injury caused the Petitioner by the order prohibiting him from leaving Israel as against the imperative of protecting state secrets, the security interest must take precedence. Similar arguments were stated by the Head of the Home Front Command in response to the objections presented by Petitioner and his attorney against the intention of imposing restrictions on Petitioner. In the reply to Petitioner’s attorney, it was made clear that the purpose is to prevent Petitioner from harming the security of the State, and that detailed information had shown that such danger existed if the order were not issued. At the same time, the General stated that, having examined the Petitioner’s objections, he found grounds for modifying the restrictions he had intended to impose, and itemized the modifications. The order he issued, described above, reflects the modifications.


5. In their written petition the Petitioners’ attorneys challenged inter alia the legal validity of the laws on which the orders were based. The implication of adopting this position would be that the Respondents had no authority to issue the orders. By contrast, in their oral arguments before us, the Petitioners’ attorneys sought to convince us that there are no grounds for the Respondents’ concern that Petitioner might and is capable of harming the State’s security by exposing its secrets; hence the restrictive orders should be dismissed, being arbitrary, unreasonable and disproportionate. Before proceeding to discuss the justice and reasonableness of the orders issued against Petitioner, I shall explain in brief why, in my opinion, we cannot accept the Petitioners’ challenge to the validity of the laws on which the Respondents based their authority to issue the orders.


6. The Defence (Emergency) Regulations, 1945 are primary Mandatory legislation, which upon the establishment of the State of Israel became - by virtue of section 11 of the Government Administration and Law Ordinance, 5708-1948 - incorporated into Israeli law. Soon after the establishment of the State it was argued before the Supreme Court that the Defence Regulations should be repealed (as required by the latter part of section 11 of the Ordinance), due to ‘changes arising from the establishment of the State and its authorities’. Rejecting this argument, the Court ruled that the Defence Regulations remain in force and had been incorporated into Israeli law, and it was up to the legislature to change or repeal them (HCJ 5/48 Lion v. Gubernik, IsrSC 1 58). Over the years this ruling was reinforced many times; e.g., 680/88 Schnitzer v. Chief Military Censor, IsrSC 42(4) 617; and recently HCJ 10467/03 Sharbati v. Head of the Home Front Command, IsrSC 58(1) 810). The Petitioners’ attorneys argued before us that the Court’s ruling that the Defence Regulations are part of Israeli law is mistaken, and that in any case it is time to abandon it, since it violates the values of the State and human rights as embodied in the Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty.


The State of Emergency Regulations (Exit from the Country), 5708-1948 were promulgated by the Minister of the Interior by his authority according to section 9(a) of the Government Administration and Law Ordinance. These were originally secondary legislation, but when they were extended by primary legislation (in the Extending of the State of Emergency Regulations (Exit from the Country) Ordinance, 5709-1948) they were included in the annex to the said Ordinance, and became part of the Ordinance. Thus the regulations were upgraded to primary legislation. This is grounded in the Court’s ruling in HCJ 243/52 Bialer v. Minister of Finance, IsrSC 7 424, and has been reaffirmed repeatedly since that time. (See, for example, the decision of Justice Barak in HCJ 4472/90 Local Authority Oranit v. the Minister of Finance, IsrSC 46(1) 95, p. 99.) The Petitioners’ attorneys sought to convince us that the ruling in Bialer was misguided and the time has come to repeal it. They argued that emergency regulations are inherently secondary legislation and no primary legislation can upgrade it to the level of primary legislation. According to their argument, regulation 6 of the State of Emergency Regulations (Exit from the Country) is an unreasonable secondary legislation and conflicts with basic human rights, and the Court should either declare it invalid, or call for its repeal.


7. I am not persuaded by the arguments of the Petitioners’ attorneys, namely, that the orders issued against Petitioner constitute a sufficient cause to reconsider the justice of the rulings in the cases of Lion and Bialer. Over the past five decades the Court has time and again repeated these decisions, adopted them and invoked them, so that they have become well-established rulings. For the Court to deviate from such entrenched rulings it must be persuaded that there are weighty reasons for doing so. In the absence of such reasons, the Court cannot do better than refer the Petitioners to the legislature; (cf. CrimA 101/77 Ringelstein v. State of Israel, IsrSC 32(1) 623, decision by Justice Haim Cohn p. 627; and CrimA 2534/93 Malissa v. State of Israel, IsrSC 51(2) 612). The Petitioners’ attorneys did not offer weighty arguments to justify reconsidering the justice of the rulings made in the cases of Lion and Bialer.


Furthermore: even if the Court accepted the Petitioners’ argument that the Defence (Emergency) Regulations and regulation 6 of the State of Emergency Regulations (Exit from the Country) were not primary legislation, this would not be sufficient to abrogate them. Even if it were true that despite their incorporation in primary legislation they remained secondary legislation, they constitute in any event ‘validity of Laws’ which section 10 of Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty secures from abrogation. However, the Petitioners assumed that if their argument - namely, that the State of Emergency Regulations are secondary legislation - was accepted, this would pave the way to their principal argument, namely, that the Court is empowered to declare them null and void, or to instruct that they be made void for being clearly unreasonable. But this is not such a simple matter: secondary legislation which has been affirmed by a parliamentary committee may be seen ‘as having been indirectly legislated by the Knesset itself’ (as stated by Justice Berenson in HCJ 108/70 Manor v. the Minister of Finance, IsrSC 24(2) 442, 445). Consequently a rule was established that the Court must be extremely cautious before it intervenes in secondary legislation that has been affirmed by a parliamentary committee (see: HCJ 4769/90 Zidan v. the Minister of Labour and Welfare, IsrSC 47(2) 147, p. 172, with the quoted precedents). Needless to say, the principle that guides the Court when asked to intervene in secondary legislation affirmed by a parliamentary committee applies a fortiori to consideration of the State of Emergency Regulations, which were confirmed in a law passed by the Knesset plenary.


However, even if we were not faced with the obstacles that bar us from intervening in the binding validity of the State of Emergency Regulations, I would not accept the Petitioners’ argument that the regulations must be repealed because they are clearly unreasonable. True, the implementation of emergency legislations - the ones that concern the present case and others that do not - injures not only the rights of individuals against whom they are implemented, but also injures the values that Israel, as a Jewish and democratic state, is obliged by its basic legislation to respect. Unfortunately, the implementation - like the very existence - of the emergency legislation is sometimes imperative, due to the fact that the State of Israel is still subject to danger and threats from within and without; and if this imperative were not so widely established, the case of the present Petitioner has served to demonstrate it. This does not mean that in actually implementing the emergency legislation the authority is free to ignore the basic rights of the affected individuals. The principle states that while the Basic Law has not detracted from the force of the ‘Validity of Laws’, it does influence their interpretation. The same principle applies to the emergency legislation. This means that though the Court does not examine the status of the emergency legislation while considering the tests of the limitation clause set in section 8 of the Basic Law, the Court is obliged to examine the justification of implementing a provision of the emergency legislation, as in the present case. That is to say, the Court’s examination is not supposed to focus on the reasonableness of the given provision in the emergency legislation, as such, but on the justice of applying it in the individual case brought before it. The Court must base its examination on two criteria: does the application of the emergency provision to a particular individual in the given circumstances meet its general purpose; and does the injury caused to the individual by its application pass the test of proportionality.


8. In challenging the reasonableness of the orders, the Petitioners’ attorneys argued that the Respondents had no justified cause, based on genuine security considerations, to bar the Petitioner from leaving Israel and to restrict his movements and contacts within the State. They argued that the orders were issued for improper reasons: they were intended only to injure the Petitioner, either in order to continue to punish him for his acts, or to detter others who possess state secrets and warn them of their fate if they revealed them. As for the Respondents’ concern that Petitioner would reveal and cause to be published state secrets that he had not previously disclosed, they argued that this concern is unfounded. They maintain that during the interview Petitioner had with the staff and consultants of the Sunday Times in 1986, Petitioner had disclosed all the secret information in his possession. There being no dispute that since he resigned from his post at the NRC - about 18 years ago - he has not obtained any more secret information, there is no basis for the suggestion that Petitioner can still reveal secrets of any kind. As for statements made by Petitioner in the past - during his trial and his imprisonment - that he still had secret information that he had not revealed and would do so after his release, they argued that these were without value. They sought support for this argument with a written opinion from the expert Frank Barnaby, who had questioned Petitioner for the Sunday Times in 1986. The expert stated that the questioning held at that time had elicited all the information Petitioner possessed. Furthermore, the Petitioner’s attorneys asked the Court to trust the Petitioner’s declaration that he neither wished to nor could expose additional state secrets, and once released, he intends to act only in the ideological and public sphere against nuclear arms in Israel and other countries. The Petitioners’ attorneys argued that the restrictions imposed upon Petitioner were designed, inter alia, to stop him from using legitimate means to protest against Israel’s political and security positions. They also noted the severity of the injury caused Petitioner by the imposition of the said restrictions, mainly the prohibition against leaving the country. They argued that ever since his actions were published Petitioner has been denounced as a traitor and made into an object of hatred and loathing among the Israeli public. Now that he has served his sentence, Petitioner wishes to rehabilitate his life, to support himself and have a family, but he has no real chance of doing so in Israel. Therefore, with the object of creating a new life for himself in another place, he wishes to leave Israel for good.


9. We have found no reason to doubt the Respondents’ assessment that Petitioner’s lengthy imprisonment did not discourage or weaken his desire and intention of disclosing and publishing secret information about the NRC, garnered by him during his employment there. Petitioner clearly expressed his determination to do so on many occasions. We give particular weight to passages quoted by the Respondents from letters sent by Petitioner from his prison cell to various people. Thus, for example, he wrote in a letter of 15.11.1998, which was seized when in his possession:


‘To all the espionage agencies of Israel and the world: I Mordechai Vanunu inform you.... that I, the moment I am free or have the opportunity, I will publish all the secrets and information I have about Israel’s nuclear weapons and all the activity at the NRC in Dimona. This time I shall go to America, the Congress, the Senate, the White House, to England, Europe and testify under oath, report to them about the crimes of the racist, Zionist, Jewish State.’


A letter Petitioner sent on 1.8.2000 (to Mrs Plotkin) declares that he is able to testify ‘about all the materials produced by the reactor in Dimona.’ In a letter dated 8.12.2000 (to Ms O’Hearn), Petitioner declares that when he is free he would be willing ‘to work for foreign espionage agencies.’  In a letter dated 26.12.2000 (to Mr Ernest Schwartz), Petitioner expressed the hope that once he is released he would travel to the International Agency in Vienna and testify about Israel’s nuclear secrets. Another letter to Ms O’Hearn, written in June 2003, implies that Petitioner also hopes to obtain financial remuneration from writing a book in which he would reveal the secrets he knows. He states, inter alia, that ‘if anyone asks for an exclusive interview or some deal to do with the book, he will have to pay a million dollars for it.’


10. There is, therefore, no doubt that Petitioner’s desire to disclose secret information about the NRC remains as firm and determined as ever. But does Petitioner still have the capacity to continue harming the State by exposing its secrets more than he did with his disclosures that were published by the Sunday Times about 18 years ago? The Respondents argue that this question, too, must be answered in the affirmative. Substantial evidence for their position was obtained recently. Petitioner’s cell was searched prior to his release. In it were found crates containing thousands of letters and documents, and a number of notebooks. Upon examination these were found to contain orderly notes and many diagrams handwritten by Petitioner during his imprisonment. In these notes and diagrams Petitioner reconstructed from memory structures, installations, methods and processes which existed and operated in the NRC during his employment there. It was explained to us that most of the writing constituted information that Petitioner had learned and memorized in the course of his assignment as a technician in one of the departments of the NRC, where he worked for about ten years. But among the data which he recorded in his notebooks there was also secret information which Petitioner had gathered in other departments of the NRC, to which according to the standard procedures he had no right of entry. It arose in the course of his interrogation and at his trial that the decision to gather secret information for the purpose of having it published had matured in Petitioner’s mind about two years before he resigned, and that during the last two years of his work (mainly when he was on night shift) he would enter other departments of the NRC, hunt for secret material and photograph documents which, even if he did not always understand them, he estimated that they contained top secret data. It goes without saying that when he was arrested the written material in his possession was seized, but Petitioner appears to be gifted with exceptional memory. The notebooks seized in his cell reveal that he could recall in minute detail the data and processes to which he had been exposed in his work, and had also memorized other data and processes he had learned about from the documents he had secretly copied and photographed in other departments of the NRC.


11. The discovery of these notebooks gave rise to two questions: one, for what purpose did Petitioner memorize this material? Two, what may be learned from these notebooks about the quality and scope of the secret information Petitioner retains in his memory? The first question was discussed before us, partly in open court and partly in camera, but in the presence of Petitioner and his attorneys, who were not prevented from examining the notebooks. The second question was discussed before us in camera, with the consent of Petitioner’s attorneys, without Petitioner and his attorneys being present.   


Concerning the first question, Petitioner’s attorneys argued that the fact that Petitioner recorded the secret material did not mean that he intended to publish it. They argued that Petitioner recorded the material from memory in order to exercise his mind and his memory, which might have deteriorated in the conditions of isolation in which he spent a major part of his imprisonment. This strange explanation does not hold water. It is enough to look at the notebooks to see that meticulous, painstaking labour was invested in the scores of diagrams and pages of text. Moreover - whatever he had written in Hebrew he later took the trouble to translate into English. The Respondents’ attorney was correct in stating that Petitioner’s notebooks were plain evidence of his intention to cause the material to be published after his release from prison. He must have written down the secret information he had stored in his mind for fear that he would forget it, and probably in order to recapitulate what he remembered, then translated it into English in order to have it accessible - or at least ready to be repeated orally - and get it published when he was released from prison.


12. As stated, the second question was discussed in camera out of the presence of Petitioner and the Petitioners’ attorneys. In this context we were shown confidential opinions of experts on the subject (of which only the unclassified portions were shown to the Petitioners’ attorneys). The court having studied these written opinions, it heard the experts give detailed explanations and answers to our questions. We cannot reveal the contents of these exchanges. What we can state is that having examined the notebooks, the experts concluded that the material recorded in them included not only the secret information that Petitioner gave the Sunday Times at the time, but also additional secret information which apparently he did not give the newspaper and that at any rate has never been published anywhere. This finding corresponds with what Petitioner himself said when interrogated by the security agencies (before his trial), concerning the information he had given the Sunday Times’ correspondent and the newspaper’s investigators. The explanations we received from the experts persuaded us that the Respondents were correct in assuming that Petitioner still retains in his memory secret information which, if published, could damage incontestable security interests of the State of Israel.


13. Petitioner’s attorneys also protested against the severity of the restrictions imposed upon him. We agree that the restrictions are harsh and burdensome. However, we see no just cause to intervene against them.


The Minister of the Interior based his decision to bar Petitioner from leaving Israel on the authority vested in him by regulation 6 of the State of Emergency Regulations (Exit from the Country), 5708-1948. This regulation, which was extended by the Extending of the State of Emergency Regulations (Exit from the Country) Ordinance, 5709-1948, and the text of which appears in the annex to the said Ordinance, states:


The Minister of the Interior may bar a person from leaving Israel if there is reason to suspect his exit might jeopardize the security of the State.


No one disputes the importance of the right of every person to leave Israel. More than five decades ago this Court determined that ‘a person’s freedom to move out of the country is a natural right’ (Justice Silberg in HCJ 111/53 Kaufman v. Minister of the Interior, IsrSC 7 534, 536). Since that time - does it need mentioning? - this freedom has been enshrined in the Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty, which determined (in section 6 (a)) that ‘every person is free to leave Israel’. But the Basic Law did not detract from the Minister’s authority embodied in the said regulation 6, which is a ‘valid laws’, in the sense defined by section 10 of the Basic Law. At the same time, as has been said, though the Basic Law does not invalidate regulation 6, it does affect its interpretation - hence the great caution which the Minister of the Interior must exercise in applying it, in view of the major importance of the right of the individual who is injured by its application (cf. statement my colleague the President made in a different context from the present one, in CMA 6654/93 Binkin v. State of Israel, IsrSC 48(1) 290, 293.)  It must pass a double test: the purpose of issuing the order and its proportionality.


The order issued by the Minister of the Interior against Petitioner has withstood the double test. What we have seen proves that there is substantial risk that if allowed to leave Israel Petitioner may publish secret information that he possesses, which if published may jeopardize the security of the State. And it has already been ruled that a substantial risk that the exit of a person from the country may jeopardize the State’s security entitles the Minister of the Interior to use his authority to bar the person’s exit (HCJ 448/85 Daher v. the Minister of the Interior, IsrSC 40(2) 701; and HCJ 4706/02 Sallah v. Minister of the Interior, IsrSC 56(5) 695). The order issued by the Minister of the Interior is proportional. Given the circumstances of the case, the Minister could not have confined himself to issuing a partial restriction of the right to exit the country, since it is all too obvious that once Petitioner is allowed to leave the country, the State would not be able to control his activities. Yet it should be noted that the Minister confined himself to prohibiting Petitioner from leaving the country for a limited period of twelve months. This does not signify that at the end of the said period the Minister will be unable to issue another order prohibiting Petitioner from leaving the country for an additional period. It means that the Minister has undertaken to reconsider, at the end of the present period of prohibition, if the risk that Petitioner’s exit from Israel might jeopardize the State’s security remains so strong as to justify issuing a new prohibition order.


14. Concerning the purpose of the restrictions that the Head of the Home Front Command imposed on Petitioner’s freedom of movement within the State, and on his freedom to maintain contacts with others as he sees fit, we received (in camera) detailed explanations from a representative of the General Security Service. We cannot disclose these explanations, and all we can say is that the restrictions imposed on Petitioner were designed to improve to some extent the ability of the Israeli police and security agencies to supervise Petitioner so as to prevent him from using his liberty to move about freely either to violate the order forbidding him from leaving the country or to communicate the secret information he possesses to unauthorized elements. On the face of it, Petitioner’s attorneys were correct in stating that the restrictions imposed on Petitioner by the Head of the Home Front Command are not very efficient and cannot guarantee the purposes for which they were issued. But this ‘flaw’ (which is indeed a flaw from the standpoint of the authorities) is due to the General’s decision to alleviate, as much as possible, both the substance and the scope of the restrictions to be imposed on Petitioner. For this alleviation surely the Petitioner has no cause for complaint.


15. The above-stated reasons have led me to the conclusion that this petition must be dismissed.


Vice President


President A. Barak:


I concur.



Justice M. Cheshin:


I concur.




Held, as stated in the opinion of Vice-President E. Mazza.

Issued this day, 8 Av, 5764  (26.7.04).




President                                               Vice-President                                                    Justice



Hebrew original (PDF)

Translation by Yael Lotan