Jacob Turkel

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Jacob Turkel
Turkel in 2018
Born(1935-03-24)24 March 1935
Died29 May 2023(2023-05-29) (aged 88)
Tel Aviv, Israel
NationalityIsraeli
Other namesYaakov
Alma materHebrew University of Jerusalem
Known forFormer Supreme Court of Israel Justice

Jacob Turkel (Hebrew: יעקב טירקל; 24 March 1935 – 29 May 2023) was an Israeli judge who was a Supreme Court of Israel Justice.[1] Turkel served as a judge for 38 years, a decade of that time on the Israeli Supreme Court.[2] In June 2010, he was appointed to head the Israeli special independent Turkel Commission of Inquiry into the Gaza flotilla raid.[3]

Biography[edit]

Turkel was born in Tel Aviv in 1935 to a family that had immigrated from Vienna. When he was five the family moved to Jerusalem, where Turkel attended Ma'aleh, a state religious school. Turkel studied law at Hebrew University of Jerusalem, graduating from its law school in 1960.[4][5][6]

Turkel died in Tel Aviv on 29 May 2023, at age 88.[7]

Judicial career[edit]

From 1967 onwards, Turkel served on various courts, including the Shalom Court, as a Regional Court judge.[5] From 1980 to 1995 he served as president of the Beersheba District Court (during which time he took two years off to serve as an acting Supreme Court justice).[4][5]

Turkel served as an Israeli Supreme Court Justice from 1995 until 2005.[5]

In August 2000 he wrote in an opinion that by filling in gaps of missing text in a 2,000-year-old Dead Sea Scroll, and deciphering and putting together scroll fragments, a scholar had shown "originality and creativity" that gave him a copyright in his work.[8] In October 2000, he rejected an appeal by Holocaust survivors and the Simon Wiesenthal Center against the first Israeli performance of a work by German composer Richard Wagner, who Holocaust survivors and others say promoted anti-Semitism.[9][10]

In June 2004, he issued a temporary injunction prohibiting the State of Israel from removing thousands of tons of earth and rubble mixed with assorted archaeologically rich artifacts lying on Jerusalem's Temple Mount. He still sat on a military court appeals panel as late as 2010.[11]

Turkel was known during his tenure on the Supreme Court for writing a relatively large number of dissenting opinions, compared to his fellow Justices.[12] This accorded with the Supreme Court opinion in which he wrote about the right of the individual to "shout out [his own] truth", and the article he wrote in Mehkarei Mishpat (Bar-Ilan University Law Review) in which he said: "The stand of the individual against an 'overwhelming majority' is not a negligible matter."[12]

Academic career[edit]

Turkel taught at Ben Gurion University of the Negev, the University of Tel Aviv, the law school of Netanya Academic College, and other academic institutions.[6]

Public commissions[edit]

Turkel headed a public commission that was set up in 1999 to reform Israel's inheritance law.[13] The commission proposed in 2006 that the law's definition of a couple be altered from "husband and wife", so that it would apply to both gay and heterosexual couples.[1][13][14] He also served as a member of the Committee of Judicial Appointments.[2]

In June 2010, he was appointed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to head the Israeli special independent commission of inquiry, referred to as the Turkel Commission, into the events in the flotilla in Gaza.[15]The Commission investigated whether Israel's actions in preventing the arrival of ships in Gaza were in accordance with international law.[3] It focused among other things on considering the security considerations for imposing a naval blockade on the Gaza Strip and the conformity of the naval blockade with the rules of international law; the conformity of the actions during the raid to principles of international law; and the actions taken by those who organized and participated in the flotilla, and their identities.[3]

Other roles[edit]

Turkel served as chairman of the Award Committee that administers the EMET Prize for Art, Science and Culture.[16][17]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Haaretz Editorial (8 June 2010). "Impinging on Gay Rights". Haaretz. Archived from the original on 25 October 2012. Retrieved 18 June 2010.
  2. ^ a b "מוזיאון הטבע ע"ש שטיינהרדט" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 21 July 2011. Retrieved 27 June 2010.
  3. ^ a b c "Cabinet asked to approve independent public commission". Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 13 June 2010. Archived from the original on 22 June 2010. Retrieved 17 June 2010.
  4. ^ a b Izenberg, Dan (23 March 2005). "High Court Justice Turkel retires today". The Jerusalem Post. Archived from the original on 2 November 2012. Retrieved 27 June 2010.
  5. ^ a b c d Zarchin, Tomer (8 June 2010). "Probe head has conservative record, but no inquiry experience". Haaretz. Archived from the original on 17 November 2010. Retrieved 18 June 2010.
  6. ^ a b "The new Holocaust History Museum at Yad Vashem". Yad Vashem. Archived from the original on 16 November 2008. Retrieved 18 June 2010.
  7. ^ "הלך לעולמו שופט העליון לשעבר יעקב טירקל, שעמד בראש ועדת המשט לעזה". Ynet. 29 May 2023. Retrieved 29 May 2023.
  8. ^ Greenberg, Joel (31 August 2000). "Israeli Court Upholds Scholar's Rights to Dead Sea Scrolls Work". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 9 March 2014. Retrieved 18 June 2010.
  9. ^ "Israeli orchestra breaks Wagner taboo". BBC News. 27 October 2000. Archived from the original on 22 February 2014. Retrieved 18 June 2010.
  10. ^ Izenberg, Dan (27 October 2000). "Supreme Court allows Wagner concert". The Jerusalem Post. Archived from the original on 2 November 2012. Retrieved 18 June 2010.
  11. ^ "Who's who on Israel's committee on the Gaza flotilla raid". Haaretz. 8 June 2010. Archived from the original on 17 October 2015. Retrieved 18 June 2010.
  12. ^ a b Ze'ev Segal. "Solo voice on the High Court". Haaretz. Archived from the original on 25 October 2012. Retrieved 27 June 2010.
  13. ^ a b Yoaz, Yuval (8 June 2010). "Gay rights groups: Justice minister is setting us back 30 years". Haaretz. Archived from the original on 25 October 2012. Retrieved 18 June 2010.
  14. ^ Yoaz, Yuval (8 June 2010). "AG: State to back gays on property rights". Haaretz. Archived from the original on 25 October 2012. Retrieved 18 June 2010.
  15. ^ PM seeks public inquiry commission headed by Tirkel Archived 22 October 2012 at the Wayback Machine, Yedioth Ahronot, 13 June 2010
  16. ^ "Ceremony in honor of Feodor Mikhailichenko – the Rescuer of Rabbi Israel Meir Lau in Buchenwald". Yad Vashem. Archived from the original on 30 March 2010. Retrieved 27 June 2010.
  17. ^ Rosenbaum, Alan (7 February 2020). "EMET Prize Committee Issues Call for 2020 Prize Nominees". The Jerusalem Post | JPost.com. Archived from the original on 3 June 2020. Retrieved 4 June 2020.