Supreme Court Rejects Petition on the Use of Wireless Networks in Schools



In August 2012 a petition filed on behalf of the National Parents' Association, the Forum for Cellular Sanity and other groups against the Minister of Education, the Deputy-Minister of Health, and the Minister of Environmental Protection was presented to the Supreme Court.  The petitioners demanded that the Ministry of Education not be allowed to install or operate wireless Internet connections in schools.  Their chief claim was that the Ministry of Education's policy on this issue was unreasonable and should be cancelled, because exposure of students to non-ionizing radiation could lead to serious harm to their health. Moreover, they claimed that the Ministry of Education's policy as outlined in the 2013 CEO Circular did not reflect its 'true' policy and was not in accordance with the situation in practice.



On 29.4.15 the Supreme Court passed a verdict rejecting the petition: (Supreme Court verdict 6269/12 – National Parents' Association vs. the Minister of Education - Hebrew).


In the verdict (pronounced by Judge Fogelman, in agreement with Judge Naor) the Court stipulated that it could find no reason to interfere with the Ministry of Education's policy regarding the use of wireless networks in schools, which is clearly a question of professional expertise, and it could not determine that the Ministry's policy as outlined in the CEO Circular of 2013 was not reasonable to an extent necessitating the Court's intervention.


The Court reiterated the principle of non-intervention in the professional discretion of an authority – "…this Court does not step into the shoes of the authority, especially since it is clearly dealing with professional issues, in which the authorities have the benefit of the relevant professional knowledge, expertise and experience  appropriate to the decision".

It also stipulated – "The jurisdiction – as well as the responsibility – devolves on the qualified authorities, and in applying the general rules of judicial review we found no reason to interfere with the policy relating to the exposure of students to non-ionizing radiation resulting from the use of a wireless infrastructure…"


In its verdict the Court discussed the statements filed by Professor Siegal Sadetzki and Professor Gelberg,and Prof Itamar Groto and stipulated that the Ministry of Education's policy to allow the use of a wireless infrastructure under the restrictions detailed in the CEO Circular was clearly a case of professional expertise.  This policy was based upon professional evaluations of the experts and other relevant professionals.  They formulated their recommendations regarding the degree of risk involved in the exposure of students to non-ionizing radiation in accordance with the required limitations and precautions.  It was pointed out that the petitioners presented a scientific factual alternative in order to arrive at different conclusion from that of the Ministry of Education, but this was insufficient to justify the intervention of the Court, or to provide sufficient reason for appointing an expert on behalf of the Court.  This was true because the authority carried out a well thought-out and comprehensive process, in which all involved bodies had examined the appropriate balance between the relevant considerations – the possible hazard of exposure to non-ionizing radiation on the one hand, and the pedagogical needs of the ICT program on the other.


Moreover, according to the 2012 CEO Circular, a more stringent alternative was examined in practice, according to which a wireless infrastructure would be used only when a wired system would cause a safety hazard, but it was found that in many schools there were practical problems with the implementation of this alternative.  The Ministry of Education therefore adopted the policy outlined in the 2013 CEO Circular.


The Court pointed out that it was not indifferent to ensuring the health and safety of the students in the educational system, but ultimately found that these had been adequately assessed by a multidisciplinary team of experts of the highest caliber in different fields.


The Court emphasized that the end of the debate on the petition did not signify the end of procedures performed by the authorities on the subject. The Ministry of Education would continue to examine the implementation of the CEO Circular according to systemic plan, which called for periodical investigations within schools to ensure that the radiation level is in accordance with the permitted recommended levels.


On 18.8.2015, the Supreme Court rejected the petitioners' request for a rehearing on the verdict before an extended bench of judges (Supreme Court additional discussion 3367/15 - Hebrew).  The petitioners claimed that the subject of the petition justified further discussion on the issues raised, in view of their importance to the general public.  They claimed that they were aware that this was not a 'classical' request for additional discussion, but felt it was justified in view of the importance of the subject.

The State counterclaimed that the issue had been given serious consideration during the original Supreme Court discussion, and no advantage could be gained from further debate.

The decision outlined by the Deputy to the Supreme Court President, Judge Rubinstein, stipulated that there was no reason to reopen the discussion of the verdict, mainly because this verdict did not contain any new theory.

In conclusion, the Court added that in addition to the follow-up mentioned in the CEO Circular, the Minister and Director of the Ministry of Education should consider the subject periodically.


For further information see: sections on Supreme Court debate on the subject of Wi-Fi in Schools,  Public debate  on the use of the wireless network (Wi-Fi) in schools, and Ministry of Education Policy on the Introduction of Wi-Fi in Schools



  • Supreme Court verdict 6269/12 – National Parents' Association vs the State (Hebrew)