Simon Agranat (1906-1992) was the third chief justice of the Israeli Supreme Court and a founding father of Israeli law. Born in Louisville, Kentucky, and educated at the University of Chicago, Agranat brought U.S. progressivism and constitutionalism to Israeli legal soil. Agranat laid the foundation for Israel''s bill of rights and took part in nearly every important Israeli legal and political issue of this century. Pnina Lahav''s rewarding study of Simon Agranat portrays Israeli history through the lens of judicial opinions. It is based on her extensive interviews with the justice before his death and a close examination of his papers. A major theme in her book is the relationship between Agranat''s world view and landmark Israeli Supreme Court opinions, and she tells the compelling story of a visionary jurist and an American pursuing his Zionist dream in Palestine. Here, too, is an illuminating view of Israeli history and legal culture that includes the Arab-Israeli conflict, the Holocaust, the symbiosis between religion and the Jewish state, and the tensions within Zionism itself. Lahav also details the thinking behind Agranat''s 1962 decision to convict Adolph Eichmann and the justice''s dissent in the "Who Is a Jew?" case in 1970.
This is the first biography of the man who made both a geographical and a psychological journey from the United States to Jerusalem. In demonstrating the influences of one culture on another, Judgment in Jerusalem provides important insights into Israeli law and politics and into the complex processes that form a national identity.