In honor of Israel’s 70th Independence Day, “Globes” newspaper sums up 70 years of real estate judgments that have shaped our lives, for better or worse, right up to this day.

Adv. Dor Shacham (Managing Partner and Head of Department) and Adv. Tom Wolfstein of the Real Estate Department, share with readers the precedent-setting ruling given by the Supreme Court sitting as the High Court of Justice in the Karsik case, where Hamburger Evron & Co. represented some of the petitioners, and following which the Knesset enacted an amendment to the Lands Ordinance.

15.04.18 | Shlomit Tzur

Land that was expropriated unnecessarily is to be returned to its owner

“Today an important legal rule is being handed down,” – thus Judge Aharon Barak, then Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Israel, introduced the decision he handed down in the Karsik case in 2001. The owners of 137 dunam (137,000 square meters) of land in Givat Olga in Hadera, had petitioned the Court to reclaim land that was expropriated from them in the 1950s for firing ranges and training areas for the IDF after, in 1993, the State (the Israel Lands Authority) suggested to the IDF that they transfer the firing range to another location, and promoted a construction project on the vacated land.

The precedent-setting ruling was given unanimously by an expanded panel of nine justices of the Supreme Court, stating that "if the public purpose which served as the basis for expropriation of lands ceases to exist, the expropriation is cancelled".

“The verdict made waves,” recall attorneys Dor Shacham and Tom Wolfstein of Hamburger Evron & Co., which represented some of the petitioners. “Following the judgement, which called on the legislator to regulate the matter in primary legislation, and following countless discussions in the Knesset and interministerial committee recommendations, the Knesset did enact an amendment to the Lands Ordinance in February 2010. On the one hand, the amendment to the Law anchored the principles of the Karsik ruling by stating that as a generality the landowner would be entitled to the return of the lands expropriated from him once the public need for which it was expropriated expired. On the other hand, the Law also tempered the legal rule when it gave the Minister of Finance the authority to determine that the expropriated land may be required for another public purpose, even though it be different from the one for which it was expropriated in the first place."