Moshe Landau

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Moshe Landau
Mechira Pumbit - Moshe Landau.jpg
Supreme Court of Israel judge
In office
President of the Supreme Court of Israel
In office
Preceded byYoel Zussman
Succeeded byYitzhak Kahan
Personal details
Born(1912-04-29)29 April 1912
Danzig, Germany (present-day Gdańsk, Poland)
Died1 May 2011(2011-05-01) (aged 99)
Jerusalem, Israel

Moshe Landau (Hebrew: משה לנדוי) (29 April 1912 – 1 May 2011)[1] was an Israeli judge. He was the fifth President of the Supreme Court of Israel.[2]


Landau was born in Danzig, Germany (modern Gdańsk, Poland) to Dr. Isaac Landau and Betty née Eisenstädt.[3] His father was a leading member of the Jewish Community of Danzig[4] In 1930 he finished high school in the Free City of Danzig and in 1933 he graduated from the University of London School of Law. That year, he immigrated to the British Mandate of Palestine. In 1937 he was admitted to the Bar of Palestine. In 1940 he was made judge in the Magistrate's Court of Haifa and was appointed to the District Court in 1948.[5]

Judicial career[edit]

  • 1953: Appointed a Supreme Court judge.
  • 1957: Sat on the court-martial – Criminal Court of Appeals, discussing the problem of "Lawful Orders" in the case of the killing of 48 Arabs in the village Kafr Qasim.
  • 1961: Presided over the Eichmann Trial.
  • 1962: Set a precedent regarding the freedom of information by overruling a censor decision.
  • 1965: As Chairman of the Israeli Central Elections Committee he was the first to disqualify a "subversive" list from running for the Knesset.[5]
  • 1974: Member of the Agranat Commission.
  • 1976: Deputy President of the Supreme Court.
  • 1980: President of Supreme Court until 1982.
  • 1987: Headed the Landau Commission to investigate the Shin Bet's procedures. The commission found frequent cases of perjury in court and violations of the law. The commission acknowledged that "moderate physical pressure" might sometimes be necessary as an interrogation tool.[6] Israeli human rights groups maintained that the practices authorized by the commission amounted to torture.[7] The commission's report was nullified in 1999 by a Supreme Court ruling.[6]

Other positions held[edit]

Member of the International Court of Justice.[5] Chairman of the World Zionist Congress tribunal. Chairman of the advisory Commissions on reforming the Israeli Land Law, criminal procedure and administrative tribunals. Chairman of the Commission for recognition of righteous among the nations in Yad Vashem. From 1956 to 1962 and from 1965 to 1966 he served as Chairman of the board of directors of the Technion.

Awards and honours[edit]

Landau received honorary doctorates from the Technion in 1980 and from the Hebrew Union College in 1997.[5]

In 1991, he was awarded the Israel Prize for law.[8] In 1993, he was made an honorary chairman of the Technion's board of directors.

See also[edit]


  1. ^,7340,L-4063015,00.html
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-05-05. Retrieved 2014-05-15.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link) supreme court decisions database
  3. ^ Sleeman, Elizabeth (2003). The international Who's Who 2004. Europa publications. p. 954.
  4. ^ Grass, Günther; Mann, Vivian B.; Gutmann, Joseph (1980). Danzig 1939, treasures of a destroyed community. The Jewish Museum, New York. p. 32.
  5. ^ a b c d "Landoy Moshe". nfc (in Hebrew). 2000-10-29. Retrieved 2008-10-18.
  6. ^ a b Lelyveld, Joseph (2005-06-12). "Interrogating Ourselves". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2008-10-18.
  7. ^ "Israel admits torture". BBC. 2000-02-09. Retrieved 2008-10-18.
  8. ^ "Israel Prize Official Site – Recipients in 1991 (in Hebrew)".