February 2019 Newsletter: The Status of Former Jewish Assets in Judea and Samaria

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This month we explore the status of the former Jewish properties in Judea and Samaria that were seized by Jordan in 1948. Contrary to the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Valero case (2011), this paper concludes that Israel legally can, and should, return the property to its former owners.

IZS Chairman Dr. Yoaz Hendel takes it to the political level and we wish him luck in his run for a Knesset seat.

Former Jewish Assets in Judea and Samaria

We are proud to open a new research section, in which we will give a stage to excellent student academic papers.
In this first research, Russel A. Shalev examines the High Court Valero ruling, according to which a property’s transfer to Jordanian custodianship eliminated any ties between the previous owners and the property pending the cancellation of such a transfer as part of a peace agreement.

Left, the interview of the researcher, Russel Shalev.

At the time of the armistice agreement between the State of Israel and the Hashemite kingdom of Jordan in 1949, approximately forty square kilometers of land and several hundred buildings previously owned by Jews in Judea and Samaria lay in Jordanian hands. 1 Subsequently, the Jordanian government, applying Mandatory ordinances, seized the former Jewish assets, declaring them enemy property and vesting them in the Enemy Property Custodianship.

When Israel conquered Judea and Samaria following the 1967 Six Day War, many of the former owners expected to regain control of their property which had been seized from them by the Jordanian government. Despite this expectation however, the Israeli government has not released the property, instead continuing to hold the assets as Jordanian national property. The Israeli Supreme Court has argued that the Jordanian seizure of the assets as enemy properties essentially extinguishes the ties between the property and its original Jewish owners.
This paper will argue that the Jordanian seizure was illegal, was the result of Jordanian aggression and unrecognized annexation of the territory, and thus should be seen as invalid. Recognizing confiscated Jewish assets as Jordanian state property would be a violation of the principle of ex injuria jus non oritur, unjust acts cannot create law.
After having established that Jordan’s illegal actions cannot grant them legal rights, we will examine the claim that Jewish properties cannot be returned to their original owners barring comprehensive treatment of parallel Arab claims on Israel. We will argue that Jewish properties in Judea and Samaria are sui generis, ie. a unique historical and legal phenomenon, and that they are much straightforward legally than Arab properties in Israel. Conditioning their return on parallel Arab claims would erase the distinction between aggressor and victim. We will see from Israel’s experience in Jerusalem that such parallelism is unnecessary and that the return of Jewish properties will not open the gates to a flood The Status of Former Jewish Assets in Judea and Samaria 8 of Arab claims. Finally, we will argue that Israel has a unique historical obligation to restore the seized Jewish properties.

For the complete study

Blue and White Human Rights

After a year and a half under construction, the new facility at the Qalandia crossing opened on February 20th. It includes six personal and belongings screening spots and twenty automatic documentation checking monitors. Workers show their magnetic card and can go through within seconds.

Nadav and Shmuel, our volunteers at the crossings around Jerusalem, sum up: ”The new crossing is a considerable change in all the way the place works. The maximum waiting time has dropped to five minutes. We see a lot of workers who used to cross earlier. Everybody we have been talking to is very satisfied with this change, to the extent people from Beit Lehem drive all the way to cross from here.”

For those who missed it, last month’s Tablet coverage of our activities in Qalandia can be found here.

Institute News

Congratulations to our chairman Yoaz Hendel for being #2 of Moshe Yaalon’s Telem movement and running together with Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid’s Bue and White party.

Yoaz’s dedication to Zionism, the state and national liberal values are important assets for Israel in general and the Knesset in particular.


The following English-language articles were published by members of the Institute and contain references to a wide range of issues on the public agenda:

IZS Chairman Dr. Yoaz Hendel bids farewell to readers after years of holding his weekly column (Yediot Aharonot).
Founding Chairman of the Institute Israel Harel laments the Jewish Home’s shift toward sectarianism (Haaretz).
Institute CEO Miri Shalem argues Livni’s fall symbolizes the end of a certain kind of political left (Yediot Aharonot).
Head of Blue&White Human Rights Nave Dromi explains why the left’s personal attacks won’t end the day after Netanyahu (Haaretz).
Progects’ manager Nicolas Nissim Touboul shows how France’s way to deal with antisemitism is flawed (Ynet).

January 2019 Newsletter: Law Enforcement In The Arab Sector

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15 years after the Wadi Ara riots we decided to check what has changed in the relations between the Arab-Israel community and the police. Between over-policing and lack of law enforcement, and between confidence-building measures and the community’s representation among police officers, the Orr commission recomendations are implemented only slowly.

This month we lost Pr. Moshe Arens zal, head of the IZS’ advising committee.

Law Enforcement In The Arab Sector

Three years following the October 2000 events, the Or Commission published its recommendations for the improvement of the relations between the Israeli police and the Arab society.

The commission’s report made recommendartios in three major areas: the treatment of Israeli Arabs as nonhostile, the promotion of dialogue and cooperation between the police and the Arab society and equal enforcement of the law in the Arab sector.


This paper examined the degree to which these recommendations have been implementated in the 15 years since the issuance of the Orr Commission’s report.
With regards to the treatment of Arabs by the police, we found that the Israeli police uses excessive force towards the Arab society compared to the Jewish society. In addition, the Arab sector is, to some extent, subject to over-policing. In recent years, the percentage of arrests that didn’t result in pressing charges among Israeli Arabs was significantly higher than its equivalent in the Jewish sector. These issues have probably accounted for the decline in the level of trust in the police among Israeli Arabs since 2003.
With regards to strengthening the dialogue between the police and the Arab sector, we found that government decisions aimed at expanding the Civil Guard apparatus in the Arab sector have been partially implemented. Moreover, Arab volunteers in the police make up a small part in proportion to their share in the population.
With regards to equal law enforcement in the Arab sector, we found that major Arab cities are still lacking in police stations. This is in part the result of objections by some of the Arab municipalities to allocate lands for the purpose of establishing new police stations. In addition, Arabs’ participation rate in the police force is much lower than their share in the population. Efforts to tackle these problems have been made as part of the implementation of government decision No. 922.

For the complete study


East Jerusalem

___________11We are proud to help strengthen municipal services! At the occasion of the new civil year, our information center in Zur Baher has started an important cooperation with the Jerusalem municipality. From now on residents will be able to register their children in the school system or appeal local tax or tickets from our offices, without having to go to the city hall. Jerusalem’s new mayor Moshe Leon praised the initiative on his Arabic Facebook page.

We have opened a Facebook page for our Zur Baher project – share and help us inform Arabic speakers!

Religion and State

___________11Institute CEO Miri Shalem took part in an important panel on social lobbying for religion and State related issues. The panel took place at the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the Knesset, at Center for Jewish and Democratic Law – Bar Ilan University. Other central participants were head of the Rackman Center for the Advancement of the Status of Woman Adv. Keren Horowitz, and head of the People, Religion and State Center at the Israel Deomocracy Institute Prof. Shouky Fridman.

Institute News

Early January passed away professor Moshe Arens, who played a central role in the founding years of the IZS. Arens, a two-times Defence minister, was also the head of our advising committee and participated to the strategic forum’s discussions.

יהי זכרו ברוך.


The Institute in the Media

Tablet magazine published an extensive coverage of Blue&White’s activities at the Qalandia crossing.
The sex-corruption scandal in the justice system was the occasion for The Marker to publish the main conclusions of our comparative research on judges nomination throughout the world.



The following English-language articles were published by members of the Institute and contain references to a wide range of issues on the public agenda:

IZS Chairman Dr. Yoaz Hendel warns liberals: the Palestinian state they call for won’t be Human Rughts friendly whatsoever (Yediot Aharonot).
Founding Chairman of the Institute, Israel Harel analyzes the current elections campaign and the dire straits of some of Israel’s historical parties (Haaretz)
Nave Dromi, the head of Blue&White Human Rights thinks part of the progressive US Jewry is responsible for most of the crisis with Israel.

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