Aharon Barak Is Appointed President of Israel’s Supreme Court

August 13, 1995

Born in Lithuania in 1936, Aharon Barak survived the Holocaust after being smuggled out of the Kovno Ghetto in a potato sack.  Following the end of the war, the Barak family made aliyah to Israel, where Barak completed his education, earning law degrees and a Ph.D. He became a law professor at Hebrew University and Law Dean in 1974.
In 1975, he was became Israel’s Attorney General, and served for three years. Towards the end of his time as Attorney General, Prime Minister Menachem Begin asked Barak to serve as an advisor in the negotiations that were taking place with Egypt.
Appointed to the Supreme Court in September 1978, Barak served for twenty-eight years as a Justice.  During his term as President of the Court from 1995 to 2006, Barak was instrumental in expanding the court’s power, especially in the area of protecting civil liberties and personal freedoms, often from government rulings or military actions.  He removed many restrictions for individuals to petition the court.  In a landmark court decision in 1995, Barak stated that in the absence of a true Israeli constitution, the Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty and the Basic Law: Freedom of Occupation stood above other Israeli laws.
In the photo, Aharon Barak (right) listens to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in 1997.