This article analyzes decision making in national security cases on the Israeli Supreme Court and draws broader comparative conclusions. In the post-9/11 era, security has topped the national agendas in numerous established democracies, with repercussions involving their courts. Analyses of decision making on national security in Western judiciaries may benefit from lessons from the Israeli Court, which has been a pivotal player in this domain. A formal model analyzes how internal court institutions plus the rationality of individual justices are conducive to strategic Court behavior. Predictions are tested empirically using an original database with security decisions from 1997 to 2004. The findings indicate that constitutional design, Court leadership, ideology of the ruling coalition and interest group activity have influenced decisions of the Israeli Court on national defense. This study builds on and expands existing scholarship on the complex links among law, politics, and national security in Israel and beyond.
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