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The Anatomy of Human Rights in Israel
Constitutional Rhetoric and State Practice


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  • Date Published: April 2016
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107695764

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About the Authors
  • Why is there such a large gap between the declarations that countries make about human rights and their imperfect implementation of them? Why do states that have enacted laws and signed treaties about human rights choose to not enforce these laws in daily life? Why have activists failed to achieve the goals of ensuring human rights domestically and internationally? This book examines the issue of human rights in the Israeli domestic arena by analyzing the politics and strategies of defending human rights. To do so, it integrates the tools of social choice theory with a unique institutionalist perspective that looks at both formal and informal, and local and international factors. The book offers an analysis explaining the processes through which Israel is struggling to promote human rights within a specific institutional environment, thus determining the future of Israeli democracy and its attitude toward human rights.

    • Based on a unique approach that contends two key formal and informal variables affect the behavior of several political players within the Israeli arena
    • Argues that the Supreme Court in Israel is an agenda setter for the human rights revolution in Israel
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    • Winner (in Hardback) of the 2015 Best Book Award, Israeli Political Science Association

    Reviews & endorsements

    'The book is a significant attempt at a nonpartisan intervention in an important but highly contentious discussion. Meydani argues that the problems of implementing human rights in contemporary Israel are rooted in a systematic problem of nongovernability, a fundamentally nonliberal political culture, and a general orientation towards short-term, goal-oriented legal and judicial solutions. Making effective use of a wide variety of case studies (including torture, gender segregation, the security fence, organ transplants, and the failure to create a human rights commission) Meydani depicts an Israel that is structurally unable to implement fully its human rights obligations - yet remains deeply if imperfectly committed to struggling to do so.' Jack Donnelly, Andrew Mellon Professor, Josef Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver

    'This is a crisp and eye-opening account on the generation of human rights policies and the realities of their implementation. Though it concerns Israel and its specific political culture, readers from other countries will be overwhelmed by the similarities.' Andras Sajo, Judge at the European Court of Human Rights, Strasbourg

    'In this innovative study, Professor Meydani analyzes the politics and strategies of defending human rights by integrating analytical tools from public choice theory with a unique institutionalist and learning perspective that is formal as well as informal, local and international in scope. This excellent and important book may prove as a foundational resource for Israel studies students as well as for those engaging in comparative research and work in the field of Human Rights.' David Nachmias, Professor of Government and Public Policy, Interdisciplinary Center, Israel

    'Using the scope of domestic policy, Meydani takes his reader through a guided tour in the maze of Israeli politics with its close civil-military relations, religious-democratic tensions and economic games. For anyone wishing to acquaint themselves with the intricacies of the Israeli social and political environment, this book should prove an important stepping stone.' Noga Glucksam, Cambridge Review of International Affairs

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    Product details

    • Date Published: April 2016
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107695764
    • length: 314 pages
    • dimensions: 230 x 152 x 16 mm
    • weight: 0.47kg
    • contains: 2 b/w illus. 1 table
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. Institutional theory and social choice studies: understanding the anatomy of human rights
    3. Human rights between constitutional rhetoric and state practice
    4. Structural and cultural variables favoring a short-term orientation
    5. The right to be free from the threat of torture in light of structural and cultural complexity
    6. The right to equality: gender segregation on ultra-orthodox buses following the Israeli High Court of Justice ruling on the 'segregation lines' in 2011
    7. The right to enjoy a decent lifestyle: the case of the Laron law - national insurance law (amendment no. 109, 2008) encouraging the disabled to work
    8. The human rights commission in Israel that never was
    9. Property rights - the issue of designing policy about the separation fence - the High Court of Justice case: Beit Sureiq Village v. the State of Israel, 2004
    10. The right to human dignity and liberty: the organ transplant law, 5768 (2008)
    11. Policy evaluation: analyzing the reality for human rights.

  • Author

    Assaf Meydani, The Academic College of Tel Aviv
    Assaf Meydani is an Associate Professor in the School of Government and Society at the Academic College of Tel Aviv, Yaffo, Israel. His research interests include public policy, politics and law, and political economy. He is the author of several books, including The Israeli Supreme Court and the Human Rights Revolution: Courts as Agenda Setters (2011), Political Transformations and Political Entrepreneurs: Israel in Comparative Perspective (2009) and Public Responsibility and Political Consumption (2009, in Hebrew). His articles have appeared in journals such as Israel Studies, the Israel Law Review, Policy and Society, Constitutional Political Economy, Rationality and Society, Land Use Policy, Contemporary Security Policy, and the International Journal of Public Administration, and in the Encyclopedia of Public Administration and Public Policy.


    • Winner (in Hardback) of the 2015 Best Book Award, Israeli Political Science Association

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