Udi Sommer

Udi Sommer
Associate Professor of Political Science


Google scholar


Tel Aviv University, Naftali 529
Ramat Aviv, Tel Aviv, ISRAEL


Roey Shafrir, MA student

My research focuses on the effects of public opinion and political atmosphere on decisionmaking on the Israeli High Court of Justice regarding the Israeli – Palestinian conflict.

Research Focus: The project compiled a sample of cases between 1990-2015 divided into 3 categories at the heart of the conflict: (1) administrative detention; (2) house demolition; and, (3) the demolition or evacuation of illegal structures. Coding on a left-right continuum was done based on final ruling of the Court. Estimating Logistic Regression models was used to determine the effect of public mood, measured based on different political surveys.

Results suggest that in cases concerning administrative detention and house demolition, there is little to no evidence of any effect for public mood on decisions on the merits. But when it comes to decisions concerning evacuations of outposts or other illegal structures, I find clear and distinct effect of public mood on how the justices rule. More specifically, when public mood tilts to the right, the outcome of the case reflects this public sentiment. Conversely, as public mood shifts to the left, so will the decisions of the high court.

Clustered Bar chart showing the effect of Public Mood, represented here by the percentage of individuals who supports the inclusion of Arabs in the Israeli government (X axis) on the number of  HCJ’s decisions to the left or to the right (Y axis). We find no systematic relation for Home Demolition or for Administrative Detention. Conversely, public mood correlates with judicial decisionmaking  in cases concerning evacuation of illegal structures.


Bio: Roey is a MA student in Political Science, specializing in comparative politics and Law. Roey has an LLB from Bar Ilan University and is a practicing lawyer specializing in Labor and Employment law