Jerusalem, June 20 – Continued absence of a law defining the role of Israel’s most senior judicial body has resulted in the court assuming jurisdiction over an increasing swath of the society’s conflicts, with the most recent instance occurring when it agreed to conduct deliberations on whether a Ramat Gan child has the right to a bedtime no earlier than the latest he can discover among his friends.
The court agreed in a unanimous vote to hear arguments in Silber v Silber, dismissing the contention of the senior Silbers’ attorneys that such a determination must remain the province of authority figures within a household or family, and not be subject to outside bodies such as the courts or law enforcement. A justice’s note to the decision to accept explained that once the court had arrogated to itself the review of any legislation or government action, along with the power to annul such government actions, there exists no reasonable limit on the extent to which the court may assert that authority.
Ten-year-old Tal Silber’s attorneys petitioned the High Court to rule on the legality of a 9 PM lights-out policy in the Silber household for children, of whom Tal is the oldest. The fifth-grader contends that “all of his friends” enjoy a bedtime of 9:30 on school nights and no curfew at all on weekends, in addition to being allowed to eat all the junk food they want.
In the petition to hear the case, lawyers for the plaintiff argue that the court, having assigned itself supreme authority to gauge the legality of any action, even those ostensibly in the purview of a different branch of government, must step in to decide on the proper bedtime for their client. That extension of authority includes all organs of administration, such as the household. Tal’s parents, Shir and Tomer Silber, countered through their attorneys that barring threats to a child’s health, safety, or welfare, or to others as a result, constitute the limits of authorities outside the home to override the decisions of a legal guardian. The court sided with the plaintiff, and will hear arguments as to the extent of parental capacity to impose a bedtime, beginning September.
“We are gratified at the Court’s acceptance of our petition,” stated the younger Silber’s lead counsel, Pearl Clutching. “The tyranny of parents has seldom been given proper attention, and we look forward to striking a blow for the autonomy of ten-year-olds all over the country who bristle under unjust restrictions on their freedom.”
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