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Menachem Elon Photo: Ziv Koren
Menachem Elon Photo: Ziv Koren
 
 

Justice Menachem Elon dies

Israel Prize laureate and world renowned Jewish Law professor passes away at 89

Aviel Magnezi
Published: 02.06.13, 10:30 / Israel News

Former Deputy Chief Justice and Israel Prize laureate Professor Menachem Elon died Wednesday. He was 89-years-old.

 

Elon served as a justice on the Israeli Supreme Court between 1977 and 1993.

 

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A prolific author on traditional Hebraic and Jewish law, he was also a presidential candidate in 1983.

 

Born Menachem Fetter in Dusseldorf, Germany, Elon's family fled to the Netherlands in 1932, as Nazism began rising in Germany. The family immigrated to then-Palestine in 1935.

 

In 1938, Elon was ordained as a rabbi and was later one of the founders of a yeshiva high school in Hebron. In 1948, he joined the IDF and served as military prosecutor.

 

Later that year, he earned a degree in Law and Economics from Tel Aviv University.

In 1954, he joined the Hebrew University in Jerusalem as a law professor and later as a professor of Hebraic and Jewish law.

 

Highly regarded by the international legal community, Elon served as a guest lecturer at Oxford University, University College of London, Harvard University and the New York University School of Law.

 

In 1963 he was appointed Head of the Institute for Research in Jewish Law at Hebrew University. In 1955 Elon was appointed senior assistant to then-Attorney General Haim Cohen, and between 1959 and 1966, he served as adviser on Jewish Law to the Ministry of Justice.

 

In 1977, he was appointed to the Supreme Court, where he served until his retirement in 1993. In 1979, Elon was awarded the Israel Prize for Hebrew Law.

 

In 1983, Elon was named a presidential candidate by the Likud, losing by a narrow margin to Haim Herzog.

 

In 1993, Elon was elected the President of the World Union of Jewish Studies, a position he held until 2005. 

 

Other than the Israel Prize, Elon was awarded the National Jewish Book Awards (1994), the Zeltner Prize for Legal Research (1994) and the Israel Bar Association prize (1996). He was named Knight of Quality Government in 1997, and received Honorary Degrees from Bar-Ilan University later that year.

 

In 2001, he received the City of Jerusalem's highest honor and was named the city's "chosen."

 

Justice Menachem Elon is survived by his wife and his four children. He will be laid to rest on Wednesday afternoon in Jerusalem.  

 

 

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