Menachem Elon, former Supreme Court justice and Israel Prize winner, dies


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Rabbi Menachem Elon, a former Israeli Supreme Court justice and an Israel Prize winner, has died.

Elon, who served on the high court from 1977 until his retirement as deputy chief justice in 1993, died Wednesday in Israel. He was 89.

He was renowned as an expert on the subject of the applicability of Jewish civil law in a Jewish state. In 1973 he published a book on Jewish civil law that is considered an important work in the field.

In 1979, Elon was awarded the Israel Prize for Hebrew law.

Elon was born Menachem Fetter in Dusseldorf, Germany. His family fled to the Netherlands in 1932 before immigrating to then-Palestine in 1935.

He studied at the non-Zionist Hebron yeshiva, but was attracted to the religious-Zionist movement and became one of the founders of the religious kibbutz Tirat Tzvi in the Beit Shean Valley. He was ordained as a rabbi and served in the Israel Defense Forces as a military prosecutor.

Elon worked as a law professor and a professor of Hebraic and Jewish law at Hebrew University.

In 1983, he lost to Chaim Herzog in his bid to be president of Israel.

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