Shamgar Suggests Israel Should Draft Written Constitution

Attorney General Meir Shamgar suggested today that Israel should start drafting a written constitution. Addressing the second international convention of Jewish lawyers and jurists, Shamgar said a constitution was necessary because of the changed legislative and political needs of the nation since its establishment 25 years ago.

He said, however, that a constitution could not be written overnight and would take time to draft. Proposals for a written constitution were made in the early days of the State. They were defeated largely by the Orthodox religious parties which claimed that the only written law for Jews was the Torah. Shamgar’s proposal indicated an intention in some quarters to renew the debate.

But Lord Diplock of the British delegation maintained that a written constitution was unnecessary and noted that Britain got along without one very well. “Individual rights are determined by the political atmosphere and not by written law,” he observed. On the other hand, he pointed out that the Soviet Union had a written constitution that did not protect its citizens’ rights.

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