The Constitutional Status of Human Dignity in Germany and Israel

Ariel L. Bendor, Michael Sachs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article applies comparative law tools to portray eight significant aspects of the constitutional right to human dignity in Germany and Israel. The elements considered are: the constitutional status of human dignity; the nature of the right; its effect on other constitutional rights; its scope and definition; waiver of human dignity; human dignity after death; negative and positive aspects of the right; and the right to asylum. The textual foundations of the respective constitutional guarantees are as different as human dignity's core meaning. In Germany, such guarantees are held to be absolute, immune to restriction, and therefore quite narrow in scope. In Israel, the scope of the right is much broader, but it is subject to limitations when placed against the public interest. Still, based on the findings of our comprehensive comparison, similar dynamics can be identified in Germany and Israel The constitutional coverage of both absolute and relative principles is broad, as are the constitutional lacunas, which are those dimensions of constitutional law neglected by the written constitution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-61
Number of pages37
JournalIsrael Law Review
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Law


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