When will Israel, like Syria, lift its emergency laws?

At the heart of the uprisings in Arab states is the demand to rescind emergency laws that confer governments sweeping security powers, and seriously infringe upon civil rights. Yesterday Syria’s President Bashar Assad surrendered to protesters’ demands, and annulled emergency laws that had been in effect in the country since the Baath coup in 1963.

Emergency law in Israel long predates its institutionalization in Syria. Four days after the state’s establishment in 1948, the acting government declared a state of emergency, which remains in effect. Israel effectively adopted the state of emergency that had been declared by the British Mandatory government nine years earlier.


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