BERENSON, ZVI (1907–2001), Israel Supreme Court justice. Berenson was born and educated in the Galilee. He received a grant for excellence from the British High Commissioner to study mathematics in England, where he also studied law. Returning to Israel, he served as legal adviser of the Histadrut (General Labor Federation) from 1934 until the creation of the State of Israel in 1948. At the request of Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion, he drafted the Declaration of Independence. In 1950, he was named director general of the Labor Ministry, and in 1954 he became a justice of the Supreme Court, where he served for 23 years until his retirement in 1977. His decisions were characterized by clarity, innovation, and a liberal approach to protection of individual rights. His major contributions were in administrative law, public tenders, torts, and labor and family law. He emphasized the legal basis of High Court of Justice decisions and judicial review of Knesset legislation and government decisions. He played a key role in the development of the Supreme Court ruling that administrative decisions of the government require it to state the grounds for them, the government's obligation to carry out court decisions and the right of the Supreme Court sitting as a court of equity to award administrative damages. His name is associated with several judicial precedents of public interest, such as the interim order compelling Prime Minister Golda Meir to allow television broadcasts on the Sabbath, equal allocation of assets between a married couple, and simplification of judicial procedures. After retirement from the Supreme Court bench, Berenson served as chair of the arbitration board for the public sector for 17 years, until 1994. (Leon Fine (2nd ed.)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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