Former Israeli Supreme Court Justice Menachem Elon Passes Away


former-israeli-supreme-court-justice-menachem-elonFormer Israeli Supreme Court Justice Menachem Elon has passed away.

A scholar, recipient of the Israel Prize and Justice on Israel’s Supreme Court, Menachem Elon was an architect of Israel’s legal system.

“Menachem Elon was an advocate of the concept of HaMishpat HaIvri,” said the OU in a statement. “By this effort he sought to incorporate traditional halacha into the corpus of Israeli civil law. He felt that Shulchan Aruch, especially Choshen Mishpat, and the centuries of case law represented by our huge responsa literature, had a place in the legal system of the modern State of Israel, and indeed could facilitate the construction of a truly Jewish legal and judicial system.

“Among his efforts to achieve this goal is his multi-volume work, HaMishpat HaIvri, in which he combines his mastery of secular law with an astoundingly broad and deep understanding of traditional halacha. For this work alone, the world of Torah scholarship owes him a great debt.”

{ Israel News Bureau}


  1. A prolific author on traditional Hebraic and Jewish law, he was also a presidential candidate in 1983.

    Born Menachem Fetter in Dusseldorf, Germany, Elon’s family fled to the Netherlands in 1932, as Nazism began rising in Germany. The family immigrated to then-Palestine in 1935.

    In 1938, Elon was ordained as a rabbi and was later one of the founders of a yeshiva high school in Hebron. In 1948, he joined the IDF and served as military prosecutor.

    Later that year, he earned a degree in Law and Economics from Tel Aviv University.
    In 1954, he joined the Hebrew University in Jerusalem as a law professor and later as a professor of Hebraic and Jewish law.

    Highly regarded by the international legal community, Elon served as a guest lecturer at Oxford University, University College of London, Harvard University and the New York University School of Law.

    In 1963 he was appointed Head of the Institute for Research in Jewish Law at Hebrew University. In 1955 Elon was appointed senior assistant to then-Attorney General Haim Cohen, and between 1959 and 1966, he served as adviser on Jewish Law to the Ministry of Justice.

    In 1977, he was appointed to the Supreme Court, where he served until his retirement in 1993. In 1979, Elon was awarded the Israel Prize for Hebrew Law.

    In 1983, Elon was named a presidential candidate by the Likud, losing by a narrow margin to Haim Herzog.

    In 1993, Elon was elected the President of the World Union of Jewish Studies, a position he held until 2005.

    Other than the Israel Prize, Elon was awarded the National Jewish Book Awards (1994), the Zeltner Prize for Legal Research (1994) and the Israel Bar Association prize (1996). He was named Knight of Quality Government in 1997, and received Honorary Degrees from Bar-Ilan University later that year.

    In 2001, he received the City of Jerusalem’s highest honor and was named the city’s “chosen.”

    Justice Menachem Elon is survived by his wife and his four children. He will be laid to rest on Wednesday afternoon in Jerusalem.

  2. Menachem Elon (birth name Menachem Fetter) was born in Düsseldorf, Germany [2] into a Religious Jewish family. Elon’s family fled to the Netherlands A year before the Nazism rise in Germany. in 1935 Elon’s family immigrated to the Palestine. in 1938 He studied in the Hebron Yeshiva An ordained as a rabbi and was among the founders of a yeshiva high school. In 1948, he served as military prosecutor of the 9th Brigade during the 1948 Arab–Israeli War.

    Elon earned his diploma from the Tel Aviv School of Law and Economics in 1948. in 1954 He began his affiliation with The Hebrew University of Jerusalem as an instructor of law and was subsequently appointed teaching associate, senior lecturer, associate professor, and, in 1972, Professor of Jewish Law. He also served been a guest lecturer on the Faculty of Law at Oxford University, University College of London, and a visiting professor at Harvard University School of Law and at New York University School of Law. In 1963 Justice Elon was appointed Head of the Institute for Research in Jewish Law at the Hebrew University and edited 10 volumes of The Annual of the Institute for Research in Jewish Law and was also editing a digest of the response of the medieval authorities. from 1968 to 1971 he served as Editor of the Division of Jewish Law of the Encyclopedia Judaica and served as the editor of the Encyclopaedia Hebraica.
    He played a pivotal role in the Mishpat Ivri (Hebrew Law) movement. Among his many works, he authored the foundation work (cited below) on Hebrew law for academic use and the training of Israeli law students. in 1955 appointment as senior assistant to the Attorney General of Israel? Haim Cohn and From 1959 to 1966 Elon was adviser on Jewish Law to the Israel Ministry of Justice and was a member of numerous Israeli Public Inquiry committees. In 1979, Elon was awarded the Israel Prize, for Hebrew law.[3]
    [edit]Supreme Court of Israel
    In 1977 he was appointed to the Israeli Supreme Court. Menachem Elon served as Justice and his opinions often draw upon the principles of Jewish law. His judicial decisions include the prohibition to register the character of non-Orthodox conversions on Israeli identity cards and the return of a girl who had been transferred for adoption without her parent’s consent.
    In 1988 he was promoted to the position of deputy Supreme Court president, under Meir Shamgar and in 1993 retired after 16 years as a justice.
    [edit]Israeli presidential election
    Supported by the right-wing Likud party, Elon was nearly selected as President of the State of Israel, losing in a close vote (61-57) to Chaim Herzog in 1983.
    [edit]Resumption of academic career
    In 1993, he was elected President of the World Union of Jewish Studies and Served in until 2005. In 1992, Elon wrote “Jerusalem Covenant” – an mosaic dealing with the centrality of Jerusalem in Jewish life – signed in Jerusalem Day the 25.

    The Elon family, a member of the religious Zionist elite, is entrenched in the world of law, politics, Literature and halacha (Jewish religious law).Amongst Elon’s five children are Binyamin Elon (married writer Emuna Elon), a member of Knesset and former cabinet minister and Rabbi Mordechai Elon, the former head of Yeshivat HaKotel, Joseph (“Sefi”) Elon serving as district judge in Be’er Sheva, Ari Elon is secular and a lecturer on the Bible.


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