Shamgar, Meir

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SHAMGAR, MEIR (1925– ), Israel jurist. Born in Danzig, Shamgar arrived in Palestine in 1939. Arrested for underground activities in the Irgun Ẓevai Le'ummi, he was held under administrative detention by the Mandatory authorities from 1944 until 1948. Later, as a colonel of the Israel Defense Forces, he was Military Advocate-General from 1961 until 1968. Appointed Israel's attorney-general in 1968, he appeared for the government in the dramatic Shalit "Who is a Jew?" case and in the Sussman Inquiry Commission into the El Aksa fire. In 1971 he led an investigation into crime and from 1972 devoted most of his time to various economic offenses and gained a reputation for hard but fair investigating and prosecuting. As a member of Prime Minister Rabin's "think tank," he took an active part in the drafting of the legal formulation of the Israel-Egypt disengagement agreement after the Yom Kippur War. He was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1975 and in 1983 he became president of the Supreme Court, a position he held until 1995, when he retired. As a justice Shamgar was a staunch defender of freedom of expression, ruling in favor of the media when their democratic rights were challenged. As president of the Supreme Court, he worked to improve the administrative systems of the courts, introducing methods of supervision, reporting, and control. He also oversaw the move to the new Supreme Court building. In 1996 he headed the commission investigating Yiẓḥak Rabin's assassination. In 2005 he received the Democracy Award for his contribution to Israeli democracy.

[Alexander Zvielli /

Shaked Gilboa (2nd ed.)]