Law Faculty Bulletin

Law Faculty Bulletin

 

English Volumes:

Vol. 11

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Vol. 11 November 2012
 
 
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Spanish Steps
Every year, students from the Faculty of Law visit universities around the world as part of our exchange program* Some of the participants are motivated by a desire to do something different, others are interested mainly in the academic opportunity, and others still are making a dream come true* Read about the experiences of Reut Hevroni, an exchange student at ESADE University in Barcelona, Spain.
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The Clinical Center: Academia Serving Society
The Faculty of Law's Clinical Center launches its programs for the 2012/13 academic year. The clinics are expanding, changing and working hard on new projects. 
We invite you to take a closer look at the work of the Clinical Center.
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The Effectiveness of International Tribunals
Thanks to a grant from the European Union, a group of doctorate students and researchers in the Faculty, headed by Prof. Yuval Shany, is preparing a book that will consider ways to increase the effectiveness of international tribunals during their establishment.
Read More...
 
 
Ediror: Ronen Polliack
Editorial board: Michal Totchami, Zohar Drookman
 
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Faculty of Law - All Rights Reserved

Spanish Steps

Spanish Steps

 

The Student Exchange Program at the Hebrew University's Faculty of Law offers a chance to visit a variety of attractive locations around the world. In recent years, the Faculty signed agreements with leading institutions, including the law faculties at UCLA and Stanford. The growing importance of East Asia was reflected in new agreements with top-ranking schools in Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong. Exposure to foreign academia is a special opportunity the Faculty offers to outstanding students. The exchange program is growing each year, in terms of both the number of institutions and the number of students participating.

A large number of students apply each year for the exchange program. Some of the applicants are looking for a different cultural and academic experience as a break from the routine of life in Israel. Others are mainly interested in the chance to learn about different legal systems.

 
Brief enquiries suggest that most exchange students focus mainly on their studies, but also take time to visit the sites and to get to know students from around the world. Reut Hevroni (24, Jerusalem) is a third year law and psychology student. Reut, who certainly meets the program's requirement of excellence, is visiting ESADE University in Barcelona, Spain through the exchange program. Her choice of Spain was no coincidence, and was motivated by her passion for traditional flamenco dance. "The homeland of flamenco is in Spain, although further south in Andalucia," she explains. The beauty of flamenco lies in its folk character. Reut recalls an experience that emphasizes this: "Once I was just walking down the street when a woman started setting the rhythm and a young man began to dance. It was as if people suddenly started dancing the hora in Tel Aviv," Reut joked.
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Reut Hevroni.

"Reut describes the experience of studying in Barcelona as a taste of classic European academia. She is enjoying the opportunity to study at a university steeped in the Continental tradition and in a foreign language, and to encounter an unfamiliar legal system. The program includes one semester of studies, but the Spanish academic system has given Reut a chance to develop both in her law studies and in her hobby, which in her case is really a second profession. Despite her love of dance, Reut also mentions some challenges: "It's a very hard profession and a very competitive world. Maybe one dancer in a million manages to make an impression, so it is very hard to decide whether this really what you want to do." Reut is combining two competitive and demanding fields, but she still manages to pursue her law studies and to dance several times a week. "I think I will always find time to dance, because it's something that makes me feel good. I would love to be successful in this field, but there's no way of knowing where it will take you."

 

Reut seems to enjoy the best of both worlds. Her fellow students are fascinated to find themselves sitting alongside a flamenco dancer. We asked her how students from different countries react to her hobby. "Everyone who hears about it is really enthusiastic. It's a great way to start a conversation," she says. "Some people are also looking for ways to add special value to their exchange experience – something different they can do. For example, one woman who studies with me is a hockey player, and one of the guys likes to dance salsa. The fact that other people are doing things outside their studies motivates you to do the same." Reut, our representative in Catalonia, is certainly taking her exchange experience step by step.



And what about the experience of studying in Spain?

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The studies have a strong practical orientation.

Apart from the different geographical and cultural setting, there are also quite a few differences compared to law studies in Israel. Most of the students are aged 18 to 22, and the fact that they are younger than their Israeli peers explains some of the differences in the study requirements. For example, approximately half the student's final grade (and sometimes more) is based on attendance at 80 percent of classes and participation in class. The lessons are based mainly on reading material, and the lecturer often begins by asking the students what they thought of the material. An informal discussion in the corridor between students in the Faculty of Law raises an interesting conclusion: Although the Israeli students read less than their Spanish classmates, they participate more in class. Is this just Israeli bravado? We'll find out when the final grades are published. For now, our representatives in Spain are discovering that the Continental legal system influences the study style, as well as the content of the courses. The system is based on legal codes and the judge plays a different role; perhaps because of this, the studies have a strong practical orientation. In many cases, the law is taught as a simple point of fact, without discussing the rationale behind its enactment. Law students, and even those working in the profession, do not always know the judges by name. "If a judge is known by name, this is usually not a good sign," comments Dr. Anna Salom Vidal, a lecturer in comparative law.

The Clinical Center: Academia Serving Society

The Clinical Center: Academia Serving Society
 

During their years of study at the Faculty of Law, the students attend classes discussing laws, ideas and the thoughts of different philosophers, judges and scholars. As the French philosopher Albert Camus pointed out, "There always comes a time when one must choose between contemplation and action." The Faculty of Law's Clinical Legal Education Center, directed by Dr. Einat Albin, offers students a chance to move between the spheres of contemplation and action, to put ideas into practice, and to participate in hands-on legal action. Legal field work also provides an opportunity to assess where the law is meeting the needs of reality and where it shows failures or inadequacies. This is not only vital for understanding the practice and limitations of law, but also yields important insights that help the students gain more from all their courses in the faculty.

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These insights can in turn encourage change in the law. A wide range of clinics relating to diverse fields of law is offered, and new clinics are introduced each year. In this issue, we focus on the activities and innovations in two of the clinics offered in the new academic year.

 

The Legislative Consultation Department

The Civil Justice Clinic has changed its format this year. Attorney Hagit Borochovitz, one of the clinical teachers last year, was particularly impressed by a project that began with a position paper prepared by Chaim Avraham, one of the students who worked in the clinic. Chaim, aged 26 from Jerusalem, recalls: "The idea was the direct result of one of the cases I was involved in. A convicted rapist had evidently smuggled assets out of Israel in order to avoid paying compensation. Similar cases were also mentioned during conversations in the clinic. I wanted to try to find a solution to the problem faced by victims." It emerged that the State of Israel has not established a public mechanism for compensating the victims of criminal offenses (along the lines of the mechanisms used to compensate the victims of road accidents and acts of hostility). As a result, if offenders smuggle out their assets, the victim will be unable to secure compensation, even if this has been ruled in their favor in an individual claim.

 
The essence of the clinics' role is to enable students to apply the theoretical knowledge they have acquired in the practical world. "This year," Attorney Borochovitz explains, "we chose to take this position paper and translate it into practice. We recruited a team of four students: Efrat Gidron, Lahan Sarid, Oren Ron and Yishai Rivlin. The team prepared a paper that eventually became a proposal to amend the Criminal Victims' Rights Law." Borochovitz adds that this entailed a protracted process. "We undertook extensive legal research, including comparative law, brainstorming, in-depth reflection, and consultation with professionals in relevant fields from the Faculty and elsewhere."
Chaim Avraham: "The idea was the direct result of one of the cases I was involved in. A convicted rapist had apparently smuggled assets out of Israel in order to avoid paying compensation… I wanted to try to find a solution to the problem faced by victims."

Lahan Sarid, one of the students in the team, highlights the complex nature of the task. "It wasn't easy to find a mechanism that secures the victim's right to compensation while avoiding disproportionate injury to the defendant's right to property." With this in mind, the mechanism included in the proposed law establishes that a warning notice may only be recorded on any of the defendant's assets at the indictment stage. Despite the intensive work involved, Lahan warmly recommends that students participate in the clinic's work: "From my own experience, the work on this project was one of the most meaningful things I have ever been involved in. I was originally attracted to the clinic because I wanted to work with victims, but the combination of this field and the field of damages law opened up interesting new vistas for me. I worked with a very diverse group of people, and the clinical staff really deserve credit for the amazing way they steered the process." Attorney Borochovitz adds that the next stage of the process will include efforts to interest Members of Knesset in advancing the proposed law and securing the amendment of the existing legislation.

   

The Innocence Project – A First in Israel

This year, the clinic is launching Israel's first-ever Innocence Project to provide representation in applications for retrials. Attorney Manny Salomon, who is supervising the project, notes that the inspiration for the initiative came from the Innocence Project founded in the US. "Our goal was to try to secure the acquittal of prisoners by means of DNA tests that were not available at the time of their trial," Attorney Salomon explains. "The US Innocence Project developed on the basis of clinics in various faculties of law. Today, it is an independent body that has managed to secure the acquittal of around 300 prisoners."

 
   

Some positive developments have also been secured in Israel in this field, particularly since the establishment of the Public Defender's Office. Attorney Salomon recalls that, prior to 2001, the picture was extremely bleak. At the time, only the attorney general could submit an application for a retrial. "This was a problematic arrangement, given the inherent conflict of interests it entailed. The unfortunate result is that, to date, the attorney general has only submitted one application for a retrial," Salomon adds. The Baranes affair, when a defendant was convicted of murder and only acquitted after a lengthy public and legal struggle, led the Public Defender's Office to initiate a legislative amendment enabling any person to request a retrial. "These are complex and protracted proceedings that require personnel and budgets that are simply not available," Salomon explains. "Accordingly, the Public Defender's Office announced the establishment of the Innocence Project. Several private law firms agreed to handle one such case each a year." However, the current situation is still unsatisfactory, and intensive work is needed both in terms of representation and on the level of policy advocacy. The Innocence Project that is being launched this year seeks to meet this need. Eight students from the Criminal Justice Clinic are participating in the project. Attorney Salomon highlights the wide range of issues the students will address: "The students will supervise retrial cases from the moment the application is received. They will comb the evidential material carefully in an effort to collect, discover and expose evidence and flaws that can secure a retrial. They will also help represent the case before the Supreme Court when it hears the application." Attorney Salmon also mentions a further aspect of the students' work: "The students will help promote various proposed laws relating to the field of retrials, as part of an effort to reduce the factors that lead to false convictions and to provide a simple and rapid legal course for implementing the right to a retrial and for correcting judicial distortions."

 

Attorney Salomon believes that the justice system cannot be complete without a control mechanism that can help improve the judicial process and reinforce public confidence in the courts. "The project is beginning in our clinic, but in the future we hope that the other universities and colleges will also open clinics." Looking further ahead, Salomon concludes: "Eventually, the vision is that the project will become a strong and independent body."

Attorney Manny Salomon: "The students will supervise retrial cases from the moment the application is received… and will also help represent the case before the Supreme Court."

 

The Effectiveness of International Tribunals

Researchers in the Field: The Effectiveness of International Tribunals

 

"The European Union is intensively involved in establishing and maintaining international tribunals. Yet no structured methodology has been developed for examining the effectiveness of these tribunals," says Professor Yuval Shany, dean of the Hebrew University's Faculty of Law and the founder of the Project on Assessing the Conditions for Effective International Adjudication. The project, which is being implemented under the auspices of the European Research Council, is now entering its fifth year and seeks to tackle this complex field. "The project provides a framework for evaluating the effectiveness of tribunals and ways in which this can be influenced. This kind of project can provide decision makers with tools for deciding whether to establish a new tribunal or to reform an existing one."


How did you recruit researchers to the project?

"Some of the researchers responded to a call to participate in the project – particularly post-doctorate students, some of whom came from abroad. I also contacted doctorate students whom I felt were suitable for the project. Israel is a small country, and the number of people involved in the field of international law is fairly limited."


How do you examine whether tribunals are effective?

"The question is effective in whose eyes, and for what purpose? Our central argument is that tribunals must meet the expectations of those who founded them. The research group has prepared a framework for evaluating the effectiveness of international tribunals. The researchers apply this framework, or sections of it, to research questions regarding the effectiveness of particular tribunals or specific aspects of their work."


What findings have you reached?

"In many cases, tribunals were asked to fill numerous and sometimes contradictory functions. This means that from the outset the structure of the tribunal prevented it from working effectively. For example, if a tribunal is instructed both to resolve conflicts within a short period of time and to ensure the full and final solution of all the issues it hears, a conflict may emerge between these two objectives."

 

A research microcosm

The concept of "effectiveness" covers a very broad research field. The research team is examining a type of effectiveness that is qualitative, rather than quantitative. Peter Drucker, the founder of modern management theory, argued that "Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things." The project partners seek to answer the research question by applying diverse and sometimes multidisciplinary approaches. For example, Dr. Maria Varaki, a Greek legal scholar, is applying theories from the fields of sociology and organizational management. Varaki, who formerly served as a consultant in the Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, is examining how this tribunal managed to establish its legitimacy. She comments: "No-one considered sociological legitimacy in advance, and it was never emphasized in the declarations. People focused exclusively on legal legitimacy."

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Varaki. "People focused exclusively on legal legitimacy."

 

Dr. Shai Dothan is also examining the effectiveness of the ICC, but from a different perspective: that of a law and economy approach. Dothan is considering when the ICC should intervene in trials conducted against war criminals by some countries. "Two types of countries are subject to the authority of the ICC," Dothan argues. "Some countries will refrain from holding sham trials due to the quality of their judicial system, while others will be willing to hold such trials in order to serve their interests. If we assume that the ICC is unable to expose the sham nature of these trials, whether due to a lack of tools or a desire to avoid conflict, the question that arises is whether it should intervene in the trials of war criminals or give states an incentive to conduct trials themselves?."

 

Sigall Horovitz, a doctorate student and a member of the team, is also examining international criminal law, but is concentrating on the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. "I am examining the tribunal's effectiveness in terms of the securing of a specific goal: to promote reconciliation."

"The project can provide decision makers with tools for deciding whether to establish a new tribunal or to reform an existing one."

"Horovitz is considering how changes in the domestic legal system in Rwanda, such as the abolition of the death penalty and the prosecution of war criminals from the dominant Tutsi tribe, contributed to the process of reconciliation.

 "I spent two months in Rwanda," Horovitz explains, "and I undertook over 50 in-depth interviews with attorneys who represented the parties involved in the Tutsi trial, witnesses, prisoners whose death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment, victims, neighbors and community leaders. I also interviewed national leaders in order to gain a macro perspective."

The research does not only focus on international criminal law. For example, Sivan Shlomo-Agon, a doctorate student in the Faculty, is examining the dispute settlement system of the World Trade Organization (WTO). "I show how the balance and emphasis on the goals changes in different types of disputes, depending on the challenges the dispute settlement system is required to confront." Shlomo-Agon adds that cases that do not fall into classic molds are the most relevant for her examination. "I am looking at disputes that involve commercial interests, on the one hand, together with other values, such as environmental protection, health, or human rights, on the other. In these disputes, the WTO has attempted to enhance its legitimacy in the broad sense – not only its legitimacy as a legal system, but the legitimacy of the WTO as a body."


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A team meeting. "We already have graduates of the project working in the Ministry of Justice and at the Israeli embassy in The Hague."

   

Coming soon: The book

The project is entering its fifth and final year. Next year, Oxford University Press is due to publish a book summarizing the research findings. Apart from the book, the project has also had less direct outcomes. "One of the goals of this type of research group is to influence discourse in the country where the research takes place,"

"Our central argument is that tribunals must meet the expectations of those who founded them."

Professor Shany explains. "We already have graduates of the project working in the Ministry of Justice and at the Israeli embassy in The Hague. We have provided academic and practical tools for people who hope to work in the future in the field of international tribunals in Israel and around the world." 

The project members meet for a weekly discussion at which they review articles, projects and ideas of group members or others and engage in brainstorming. The interaction between the members of the group creates an encounter between different worlds. Some of the members of the group are not Israelis, and some of the foreign members participate in the meetings from abroad over the internet. The members also come from different academic disciplines, creating a further encounter. "One of the nice things about this project," Professor Shany concludes, "is the chance to work with all kinds of researchers from around the world. That's good for research, good for the Faculty, and good for the University."

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From right: Shany, Horovitz, Shlomo-Agon and Varaki. "One of the goals… is to influence discourse in the country where the research takes place."

Vol. 12

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Vol. 12 January 2013
 
 
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Write On!

Four credit points * Rich academic experience * Acquisition of analytical tools and critical thinking * These are just some of the benefits gained by law students who get involved in writing journals * In the first in a series of articles, we offer a glimpse behind the scenes at three leading student journals in the Faculty of Law *
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The Attorney General Teaches the Next Generation

Every year the Faculty of Law offers its students a wide range of courses taught by lecturers who are involved in practical work in the legal field. This year, a particularly notable course is entitled “The Institution of the Attorney General – Selected Issues.” The course is taught by former Attorney General Attorney Meni Mazuz, and has quickly become one of the most popular courses among undergraduates in the faculty.
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The American Media and the US Supreme Court – An Inside Look

Dahlia Lithwick, an American journalist who covers the US Supreme Court for Slate magazine, will be teaching a course this year at the faculty. The course examines the attitude of the American media toward the Supreme Court – an attitude Lithwick describes as “a case of Stockholm Syndrome.”
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Justice, Justice Shall You Pursue

The Hebrew University’s Minerva Center runs seminars, conferences and workshops to promote human rights * Sigall Horowitz, director of the Transitional Justice project, tells us about the latest conference * Tomer Haramati, a past participant in the transitional justice workshop, shares his unique experiences in Rwanda and Tanzania in a project run by the Minerva Center.
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Adam Hofri-Winogradow

Many researchers compete for the prestigious grants awarded by the Israel Science Foundation (ISF). The ISF is the main state body responsible for supporting academic research in Israel. The competition is based on criteria of scientific excellence and includes diverse research fields. Dr. Adam Hofri-Winogradow, a senior faculty member, is one of the lucky few who have received a substantial grant from the ISF.
Read More...

 
 
Ediror: Ronen Polliack
Editorial board: Michal Totchami, Zohar Drookman
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Faculty of Law - All Rights Reserved

Justice, Justice Shall You Pursue

Justice, Justice Shall You Pursue (Deuteronomy 16:20)

 

The Hebrew University’s Minerva Center runs seminars, conferences and workshops to promote human rights * Sigall Horowitz, director of the Transitional Justice project, tells us about the latest conference * Tomer Haramati, a past participant in the transitional justice workshop, shares his unique experiences in Rwanda and Tanzania in a project run by the Minerva Center.


At the end of November 2012, the Minerva Center for Human Rights at the Hebrew University held a three-day conference on the subject of transitional justice, one of its areas of expertise. Sigall Horowitz, a doctorate student and teaching fellow in the faculty, is the director of the center’s Transitional Justice project and a research fellow in a project on effective international adjudication. Horowitz explains: “Transitional justice examines the legal approaches and the social non-legal approaches by which societies cope with past injustices in order to ensure a future of peace, democracy, the rule of law and respect for human lives.” The field relates to societies in transition from conflict or dictatorship that seek to move toward peace or democracy while addressing their past.

 

 

The conference examined the question as to how transitional justice is applied in a democracy, leads to democracy or encourages a return to democracy, and what tensions are encountered in these processes. Thirty experts from around the world attended the conference, including Dr. Tomer Brody, Dr. Guy Pessach and Professor Ruti Teitel ( a guest lecturer at the faculty this year). Among other issues, the conference discussed aspects of transitional justice in the Israeli context. In her lecture, Horowitz mentioned the official commission of inquiry to investigate the events of 2000 (the “Or Commission”) as an example of various mechanisms of transitional justice that have been applied in Israel.

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“The Or Commission had individual objectives relating to personal liability, i.e. who attacked and why, but it also had broader social objectives, including recognition of the victims and the restitution of justice.” Horowitz explains that these broader objectives relate to the concept of transitional justice. The Minerva Center organizes numerous conferences in order to expose students to the issue and to expose the issue to the general public in Israel and the relevant international community. “This is an interdisciplinary field that also touches on international relations, political sciences and other disciplines,” Horowitz emphasizes. “People came from around the world to attend the conference, which was a serious and professional event.”
 

In addition to its impressive conferences, the Minerva Center also organizes seminars for the general public and workshops for faculty students. Each workshop focuses on a particular region of the world. Tomer Haramati, 28, a fourth-year law student, participated in a workshop two years ago on the subject of transitional justice in Rwanda. The workshop included 14 sessions and a ten-day tour of Rwanda and Tanzania. “On the academic level, the workshop exposed me to a fascinating new field. We aren’t used to thinking about law as a tool for promoting broad social values such as peace and reconciliation. You don’t really think about that as a law student, and this was something the appealed to me.”

 
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The highpoint of the workshop was the tour, which included an examination of Rwanda as a case study. “Rwanda suffered an enormous disaster, and we were astonished by what they have achieved since,” Tomer relates. The civil war in Rwanda in 1994 included mass genocide that killed hundreds of thousands of people. “The situation in Rwanda is extreme, and accordingly the solutions are very broad based. The mechanisms of transitional justice have led people who murdered their neighbors to stand before their victims’ relatives,” Tomer adds. 

 

The “Gacaca” Courts – Social Healing

   

One of the main examples of a mechanism for transitional justice is the gacaca, a community court used to try defendants accused of genocide. The Rwandans took the brave but controversial decision that any person who played an active role in genocide was to be brought for trial. “This is a very extreme example of individual liability,” Tomer explains. “The result was that in a relatively small country with some 11 million inhabitants, hundreds of thousands of people had to be put on trial. It sounds impossible, but they managed to achieve it by the sophisticated use of community courts.” Tomer describes a situation whereby the entire village sits on the grass listening to evidence, hears the victim and the assailants, and reaches its verdict. People from different ethnic groups cooperated in a project that included the entire community. “Apart from the fact that this is an effective way to prosecute a large number of individuals, it also led to a kind of social healing. The prosecution did not come from above, from an international tribunal, but from the community itself,” Tomer emphasizes. This type of process can have far-reaching individual consequences. A person who was a victim is asked to forgive another person who murdered his family, or to live alongside him in the same village. This is obviously a demanding process: “It asks a lot of a society and of its individual members. We were astonished by the full complexity of this process,” Tomer recalls. This type of process inevitably creates tension between the international tribunal and the means of adjudication implemented in Rwanda: “

 

  

"People who underwent terrible abuses declare that they want to move forward. it demands a very high personal price"

 

 

 

 

 

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There are advantages in a situation where an international tribunal prosecutes some defendants, but the difficulty relates to the broader processes they are trying to promote,” Tomer notes. “If the ultimate goal is to bring society to a better place, then the judging need not necessarily be undertaken by an international tribunal.” During the tour, the group also visited the international tribunal in Tanzania. “It was very interesting to see how the tribunal workers and to see the representatives of the international community meeting to rule on cases,” Tomer notes. “This conveys a clear message, not only that the person has done something wrong, but that the international community has come in to declare that their actions are unacceptable.” Tomer heard the closing speech in one trial that had lasted for 11 years. “The man was a member of the ruling party that committed genocide and one of the main offenders responsible for the murder,” he emphasizes. “He made a closing speech on the subject of peace and reconciliation, which created a very strange situation for the Rwandans who had come to the trial and had seen the man’s earlier actions.”

 

The TIJ Mechanism – Rehabilitative Punishment

Some 20 years after the genocide, most of the offenders have been prosecuted and some are serving prison sentences. Tomer continues: “Another amazing thing we saw was punishment for the purpose of rehabilitation.” The Rwandans soon reached the conclusion that it was pointless imprisoning all the offenders, which would also have been impossibly expensive. “So they reached an arrangement where, instead of spending time in prison, people could be placed in other programs, provided they admitted their guilt. This was another mechanisms designed to encourage recognition of the crimes within society.” One of these rehabilitation frameworks is TIJ, which involves community service such as building roads and schools. “Our meeting with a TIJ group was one of the most meaningful experiences during the tour,” Tomer relates. The students met the group after they had already visited the areas affected by the genocide. “We came to the meeting with the TIJ group in a very charged emotional state. We were shattered by what we saw – simple, ordinary people. You look at them and don’t know what to feel – hatred or pity.” Tomer’s impression was that “they don’t even know why they did it. They don’t look like the sort of people you would imagine would commit premeditated murder. They look haunted.”

 

 

 

"We tend to focus on the victims, but there is society as a whole, and the people who took part in the genocide are also part of society"

 

 

 

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Tomer describes intense emotions that cannot be encountered in a classroom. “The direct personal contact makes you realize how complex these situations are. We tend to focus on the victims, but in the final analysis there is society as a whole, and the people who took part in the genocide are also part of society.” 

     

How do you move on from that kind of experience?

“I think we came out of it overwhelmed. The question now is what to do and how to do it. As complex as the situation is in Rwanda, at least we could see that something is working there. Twenty years ago no-one thought the country had a chance of recovery. What happened there was one of the worst crimes in history, but despite all the problems you can see that the country is functioning. Rwanda has one of the leading economies in Africa, the majority of its members of parliament are women, and it is at a very advanced stage of the process of reconciliation. People who underwent terrible abuses declare that they want to move forward – even if they don’t want to forgive, they realize that they have to. Even if they don’t want to see someone who committed crimes, there is no alternative. They accept it, even though it demands a very high personal price.” For Tomer, the tour was a profoundly personal experience. “They invested a lot of resources in this tour and it gives you a great deal on the personal level. I hope I will be able to apply this in the positions I fill in the future.” 

 








"We were shattered by what we saw – simple, ordinary people. You look at them and don’t know what to feel – hatred or pity"

Researchers in the Field

Researchers in the Field / Adam Hofri-Winogradow

  

Many researchers compete for the prestigious grants awarded by the Israel Science Foundation (ISF). The ISF is the main state body responsible for supporting academic research in Israel. The competition is based on criteria of scientific excellence and includes diverse research fields. Dr. Adam Hofri-Winogradow, a senior faculty member, is one of the lucky few who have received a substantial grant from the ISF.

 

 

In 2009, Hofri-Winogradow requested funding from the ISF for a study examining the use of trusts in Mandate Palestine and the State of Israel. The research project was focused on legal history, with economic history angles. “In 2010, I received a substantial four-year grant of over NIS 400,000. To the best of my knowledge, this was the largest grant the ISF had, to that time, awarded a legal scholar,” Hofri-Winogradow recalls. Legal scholars who manage to secure ISF grants usually receive smaller sums than members of other academic faculties. Needless to say, the grant is not a personal gift to the scholar; it is used to cover various costs, such as research assistants' salaries.

 

 

 

 

We asked Hofri-Winogradow whether the State of Israel should be investing NIS 400,000 in legal research. “In some legal fields,” he replied, “such as freedom of expression and other aspects of constitutional law, the quantity of research is enormous.

 

  

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Dr. Adam Hofri Winogradow

However, in some other fields, fields that attorneys and accountants encounter in their daily work, there is hardly any research.” To date, trust law has barely featured in legal studies and research in Israel. “I searched high and low for material, and discovered that the field has been badly neglected in the past. When Israeli  university faculties and non-university law schools provide trusts courses, they are usually given by external lecturers rather than faculty members,” Hofri-Winogradow explains. While trusts practice is varied and increasing, the discipline has rarely been engaged by academics. 

 

We asked Dr. Hofri-Winogradow to tell us a little more about the contents of his research project. The project is divided into several articles, some of which have already been published (e.g., in the Law and History Review) while others are due to appear (e.g., in Law and Social Inquiry).

 

A Catch 22 Situation in the New Yishuv

One part of Hofri's research project examines the uses to which Zionist settlers in Mandate Palestine put private trusts. Hofri-Winogradow has discovered that “during the British Mandate, the Supreme Court ruled that private trusts were not then a part of the law of Palestine. Yet Zionist settlers were then making extensive use of trusts, including private trusts.” Even more interestingly,  settlers used trusts to transfer the assets of Germany's persecuted Jews to Mandate Palestine. Hofri-Winogradow explains: “Until the outbreak of the Second World War, Jews could leave Germany but were forced to leave their money and assets behind. Besides the quota system, the British only allowed people to immigrate to Palestine who had a minimum sum of money, which was gradually increased. Accordingly, a Catch 22 situation developed that made it very difficult for Jews to leave Nazi Germany.” The World Zionist Organization created a complex legal structure based on the trust model, thereby enabling some 52,000 Jews to immigrate to Mandate Palestine and bring a large proportion of their assets along.

 

Another part of Hofri's research project presents a legislative history of the Trusts Act of 1979. “I wanted to expose how our Trusts Act acquired its unprecedented features,” Hofri-Winogradow explains. It emerges that the drafting process took no less than 14 years. The unusual solution incorporated in the Act reflected  Israeli practice more than the orthodox conceptual foundations of the trust, as developed in English or American law. “The Israeli Act is highly unusual, and is, surprisingly, similar to the 2001 Trust Act  [信托法, Xintuo Fa] of the People’s Republic of China,” says Hofri-Winogradow.

 

 
Pulling the Strings

The third and final part of Hofri's project is not a piece of legal history. It examines the construction of Israel's trusts taxation regime, added to the Income Tax Ordinance in 2005. “Until 2005, the subject was not fully regulated in Israel,” Hofri-Winogradow recalls. “Many legal experts and professionals reached a conclusion that  irrevocable trusts were tax-exempt, so long as they were not dedicated for unmarried beneficiaries aged 20 or less. Such trusts were therefore  a loophole in the Israeli tax system.” The use of such trusts was one mechanism facilitating Israel’s transition from a poor, socialist society to a richer, less egalitarian one. “When the Tax Authority finally began to formulate a trusts taxation regime in 2002, two attorneys and an accountant who were active in exploiting this loophole joined the Authority’s representatives to work on a legislative regime  closing it down.” Hofri-Winogradow continues: “How did it transpire that private professionals who had profited from a situation where there was no taxation acted in a manner that was contrary to the interests of some of their clients?” He argues that the state needed professionals capable of cracking the tough nut of trusts taxation. “The Tax Authority managed to encourage three professionals to distinguish between their clients’ interests and their own, and to help develop a complex new regime which itself created plenty of work for lawyers and accountants.”

 

According to Hofri-Winogradow, trust law has so far largely remained “under the academic radar” in Israel. His study is unique in dealing with both the mid-20th-Century realization of Zionism and the current hot-button issue  of Israel's increasingly inegalitarian society. Trusts were and are central to both processes. “The trust is one of the main tools used by High Net Worth Individuals in order to retain and increase their worth,” he concludes.

The American Media and the US Supreme Court – An Inside Look

The American Media and the US Supreme Court – An Inside Look / Interview with Dahlia Lithwick

 

Dahlia Lithwick, an American journalist who covers the US Supreme Court for Slate magazine, will be teaching a course this year at the faculty. The course examines the attitude of the American media toward the Supreme Court – an attitude Lithwick describes as “a case of Stockholm Syndrome.” 

 

   

Every year the Law Faculty at the Hebrew University invites several guest lecturers from overseas to teach courses for the students on selected subjects. The guests come from diverse fields of law and include judges and academics. One of this year’s guest lecturers is the journalist Dahlia Lithwick, senior editor with the well-known online magazine Slate. Lithwick, who was the first internet journalist to cover the US Supreme Court, will teach a course on the special relationship between the court and the staff of journalists that report on it.

 

What is unique about the journalistic reporting in the United States?

“The American press is biased in favor of the Supreme Court and the myth the court seeks to project.”

 

What do you mean?

“The myth of the justices as apolitical beings – as if when they put on their black gowns they no longer have an ideology or agenda and merely decide according to the law.”

 

Dahlia mentions in particular the confirmation hearings of justices in the US Supreme Court, events she describes as a “week-long media circus.”

 

What is the origin of this attitude?

“Americans are very romantic, particularly when it comes to the Supreme Court,” she explains. “It’s a kind of secular religion. Even the Supreme Court building has the architectural appearance of a church or Greek temple. I think Israelis would laugh if they saw it.”

 

Is this image a good thing or a bad thing?

“Both. It’s good because it strengthens the independence of the judiciary. But at the same time it is unrealistic to imagine that judges do not have their own ideology. We need to be critical and to recognize that the court has a strong influence, precisely because of its romantic perception as a symbol.”

 

How does the American press shape this image?

“It protects the myth,” Dahlia claims. “You have to understand that we are talking about a relatively small group of journalists, on the one hand, but one that is extremely focused. There are no more than 40 or so journalists who report on the Supreme Court, and most of them have been doing it for decades.”

 

You are yourself part of the staff of journalists that reports on the Supreme Court. How do you assess the working process from the inside?

“Remember that the Supreme Court in the United States is very different from what you are familiar with in Israel. It processes about 70 cases a year, and it is only active for few months a year. You might think that we have a lot of spare time on our hands, but we make up for it by preparing in-depth reports. In order to report properly on the Supreme Court, I really think it is important to read all the material, all the decisions and rulings on any given subject.”

 

How would you characterize the journalists’ attitude toward the court?

“I’d describe it as a case of ‘Stockholm Syndrome.’ They are trapped in the myth. There is a kind of gentlemen’s agreement that the journalist is committed to protecting the Supreme Court’s legitimacy and image.”

 

How is this approach manifested?

“One way is the selection of subjects to be covered. The journalists report on the Supreme Court as if the law itself is a living entity. The judges do not form part of the reporting. There is a kind of silent agreement that any report about the judges as individuals is considered gossip rather than real journalism.”

 

Female Judging and Male Judging

 

At the same time as teaching the course on the attitude of the media toward the US Supreme Court, Lithwick is also writing a book examining the attitude of the American public toward the women Supreme Court justices. “Israelis may take this for granted, for the situation is different with Americans,” she suggests.”Today, there are three women justices, and in the court’s entire history there have been just four. This subject is the focus of lively debate among the American public.”

 

What specific question are you exploring?

“The question is whether women judge in a different way from men. This question arose in the past when Justice O’Connor was the first female justice on the Supreme Court. Academics discussed the question whether female judging would be different. But then Justice Ginsburg was appointed, and it emerged that she did not agree with Justice O’Connor on anything.”

 

Is this line of discourse still being pursued?

“Sure. When they asked President Obama for his opinion of the Supreme Court, he argued that the court lacks empathy. Many people connected this comment with femininity, and it’s true that Obama has appointed two female justices, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.”

 

Basically this brings us back to the question as to whether justices have an agenda.

“Right. Until now, Americans have not tended to examine the justices’ background too closely – whether Catholic justices make different decisions than their Protestant or Jewish peers. But clearly it has an impact. Justice Ginsburg is due to retire, and people have asked whether it is important that her replacement also be a woman, which brings us back to the concept of female judging. I am examining whether and how women judge differently, and whether this is a good thing.”

 

Lithwick was born and raised in Canada but later moved to the United States, studying at Yale and Stanford before beginning work in a law firm specializing in divorce law. “I found the work very unpleasant,” she recalls, “and eventually I quit. I remained jobless for a brief time until I happened to be in Washington DC while the Supreme Court was hearing the Microsoft antitrust case. Slate magazine asked me to cover the case, and later I became a regular reporter. I’ve been covering the Supreme Court for 13 years now.”

 

What made you decide to teach the course?

“This isn’t my first position as a teacher. I have already taught similar versions of my courses at University of Georgia and University of Virginia. I like teaching. Students have an ambivalent attitude toward the court and its ethos. They know that it’s unrealistic to expect judges to be completely neutral, but they would still like to believe that this is the case.”

 

Why did you come to Israel?

“For several reasons. Firstly, I have two children aged 7 and 9 and I wanted them to spend a year in Israel. My parents are also here, so they get to spend a year with their grandchildren. Another reason is because of my book – I knew that if I stayed in America I wouldn’t get any writing done.”

 

What about the course?

“Professor David Enoch heard that I was planning to spend the year in Israel and invited me to teach the course. I was really pleased, because I knew that otherwise I would just spend the whole day at home working on my book, and I’d slowly lose my mind.”

The Attorney General Teaches the Next Generation

The Attorney General Teaches the Next Generation / An Interview with Meni Mazuz

 

Every year the Faculty of Law offers its students a wide range of courses taught by lecturers who are involved in practical work in the legal field. This year, a particularly notable course is entitled “The Institution of the Attorney General – Selected Issues.” The course is taught by former Attorney General Attorney Meni Mazuz, and has quickly become one of the most popular courses among undergraduates in the faculty. 

 

 

Were you surprised to learn how popular your course is?

“I’m glad to see that students are interested, and I hope they won’t be disappointed. At first I didn’t want to limit the number of participants, but when I realized how many students registered for the course, I had to ask the faculty to close the registration. This was a bit of a dilemma for me, because in principle I would be delighted for as many students as possible to be involved. On the other hand, I think the course should include a meaningful component of class discussion with the students, and that would be difficult if the number of participants was very high.”

 

                                                                                                                       mazuzS

Meni Mazuz

What issues does the course address?

Mazuz explains that he tries to present a broad perspective on the subject. “On the one hand, I teach about the functions, authorities and areas of activity of the institution itself. On the other, we will also discuss the interfaces with other governmental systems, such as the Supreme Court, the government, the Knesset and the State Ombudsman. I do not overlook theoretical and academic aspects, but I try to integrate these with practical experience and the actual reality of the attorney general’s work.”

 

That sounds like a fairly broad subject for a course.

“That’s true. This is why I added the words ‘selected issues’ to the course title. Obviously you can’t cover every aspect in such a course, so I try to select a blend of representative issues.”

 

Is it especially meaningful that the course is taught by someone who comes from the system?

“In the field of public law, there is a significant gap between reality and theoretical law. It is very difficult to understand the material and the working reality of governmental bodies solely on the basis of legal sources. These sources cannot provide a true picture of what dilemmas are faced and how things are actually done.” 

 

“Teaching is a continuation of my public service through different tools”

Mazuz has a long career in public service. He began to work in the State Attorney’s Office in the early 1980s, and moved on to the Attorney General’s Office some 12 years later. In 2004, after serving for several years as deputy attorney general, Mazuz was appointed attorney general. He served in this position under three governments before completing his period of office in 2010.

 

What led you to move over to the academic world?

“I wouldn’t really say that I ‘moved over’ to the academic world. I haven’t begun a new career. During my own period of studies in the Hebrew University, I concentrated on the academic track. I was particularly interested in public law, both administrative and constitutional.”

 

What made you change your mind?

“During my period as an intern in the Supreme Court I was exposed to the field of public legal work, particularly in Supreme Court petitions, both from the side of the justices and from the side of litigation. I was attracted to the work of the State Attorney’s Office, so after my internship I began to work in the Supreme Court Petitions Department. Even so, I continued to have my doubts for several years. I found it difficult to make a final decision and to completely abandon the idea of an academic career. After a few years working here as an instructor in the faculty, alongside my work in the State Attorney’s Office, I felt that I was more interested in a practical career of work in the public legal service.”

 

So why did you decide to come back to teach here?

“From the outset I chose a path of public service. As I said, I don’t see my teaching work here at the university as a new career, but as a continuation of my public service through different tools. This gives me a chance to share the knowledge and experience I have gained over 30 years in the public system with young law students.”

 

Civil Servant “Genes”

Over the course of his legal career, Mazuz has concentrated on public law, in part out of a sense of mission. “I always saw the positions I undertook, including my work in the public service, as a kind of way of inculcating values to the next generation of legal professionals. For example, when I interviewed potential interns, perhaps the most important thing I asked myself was whether the candidate had the ‘genes’ of a civil servant – someone who sees their future in public service.”

 

Is that approach reflected in the course?

“For sure. The studies aren’t just about knowledge, they’re also about a value-based approach – inculcating the areas I addressed and promoted and worked to secure in the public system to a young generation of legal professionals.”

 

What is your impression of the younger generation?

“Very positive! This didn’t come as a surprise to me, but I am seeing it firsthand now. Firstly, there is much more attention to social action now than when I was a student – in the universities in general, and at the Hebrew University in particular. This is reflected in the various legal aid clinics, in the provision of legal advice to all kinds of bodies, and in the involvement of students in social issues. This is a very positive and impressive trend.”

 

And in academic terms?

“I was pleased to see that the students are not only on a very high level in personal and intellectual terms, but are also very involved and committed. They don’t see their studies as a mere technical chore.”

 

Do you think the issues you teach will influence the students in later years?

“I hope that more students will choose to work in public law and in all corners of public service – not only in the State Prosecutor’s Office or legal advice in public bodies, but also – for example – by helping in human rights organizations and social movements.”

 

What about those who opt for the private sector?

“We need them, too. But it’s important that during their training in the faculty they receive the proper values as well as professional tools.”

“The institution of the attorney general – both the individual and the surrounding system, including the State Attorney’s Office and the system of governmental consultation and legislation. This system interfaces with all the systems and institutions of Israeli democracy, and influences virtually every facet of our lives.”

Write On!

Write On!

 

Four credit points * Rich academic experience * Acquisition of analytical tools and critical thinking * These are just some of the benefits gained by law students who get involved in writing journals * In the first in a series of articles, we offer a glimpse behind the scenes at three leading student journals in the Faculty of Law * 

 

The ability to read articles “properly” is an important skill required by students during the course of their studies. Many students never take time to consider the painstaking work involved in writing legal research and are unaware of the complex process of publication, which includes an entire editorial team in addition to the researcher. In return for four academic credit points, undergraduates can join the editorial board of one of the faculty’s journals, offering a unique academic experience. The journals receive articles intended for publication, and the members of the editorial board review the articles and decide whether they are worthy of publication. Once an article has been accepted, it must still undergo a protracted process of corrections, peer review and comments from external experts in the relevant field. The technical editing process includes the checking of footnotes. Although the editorial process differs from one journal to another, the general principles are very similar.

 

Are law students, some only in their second year of studies, really capable of criticizing articles by scholars who have been active in the field for years? Dr. Yael Ronen, the academic editor of the Israel Law Review, explains: “The students play a very important role in the editorial process. It isn’t just about experience. The students can act as ‘reasonable readers,’ and in this capacity their comments are very important. The expert readers can comment on fine nuances in the academic argument, but students bring a commonsense approach and can identify problems on a different level, precisely because they are less involved in the details.” Time is another important factor: “Naturally, the students gain experience in critical reading as they review a growing body of articles,” Yael notes. The acting editor of the journal Hukim (Journal on Legislation), Yael Efron, adds: “The students who join the editorial boards are usually extremely passionate about academic writing. They perform their work with great love. In many cases, I think that their motivation makes up for their academic immaturity.” Oren Ron, deputy editor of Hukim, offers a student’s perspective on this question: “I realized that the articles we get to read in our course studies are finished products. When you see articles sent in their initial form, it isn’t what we’re used to – they are much less polished and complete.” Oren describes the editorial process: “Articles included in academic syllabuses have already undergone editing and review,” he emphasizes. “When we read an article for class, we do not usually check the footnote references but accept them as the absolute truth. In our editorial work, on the other hand, we check up the references and go back to the sources. This reveals all kinds of ideas and issues that were not mentioned in the article and entire fields of content. This examination is reflected in critical comments that the author must address during the editorial process.”

What is the difference between the various journals? The following review highlights the unique character of three journals in which faculty students work as members of the editorial board.

 

 

Mishpatim (Hebrew University Law Review)

 

Editors: Yelena Chachko and Chanan Sidur


In a nutshell: Mishpatim is a general legal journal that accepts and judges articles across the entire range of legal and related issues – private and commercial law, public law, and critical and interdisciplinary legal analysis. The journal presents a diverse range of articles, including comments on legislation and case law and book reviews, as well as more “conventional” legal articles. The journal is supported by S. Horowitz and Co. and is published under the direction of the Harry and Michael Sacher Institute for Legislative Research and Comparative Law, and in cooperation with Nevo Publishers.


A potted history: Mishpatim was originally founded by Professor Aharon Barak on the basis of the format developed at leading American law schools such as Harvard and Yale. According to this model, the members of the editorial board and the editors themselves are students, rather than faculty members or experts. Since its foundation, Mishpatim has secured a reputation as the leading Israeli forum for legal publications in Hebrew. Alongside the journal Iyyunei Mishpat (Legal Reviews) of Tel Aviv University, Mishpatim has received a B grade from the Jerusalem Ranking of Academic Journals – the highest grade awarded to a Hebrew-language publication.


Students: “We are the oldest journal published by the Law Faculty, and indeed published anywhere in Israel in the field of law, with the exception of Hapraklit (The Attorney), which has a different format,” the editors note proudly. “This is also the only journal that is run entirely by students from top to bottom, without any direction by faculty members.” The editors are chosen by a democratic process from among the members of the outgoing editorial board. Their function is to oversee the entire publication process and the editorial work, and to provide liaison between the journal and the outside world.

“The members of the editorial board are the life and soul of the journal. We are also assisted by a faculty teacher, Dr. Ilan Benshalom, whom we are very fond of,” the editors say with a smile. “He helps us in aspects relating to routine management and strategic planning, rather than in the editorial work itself.” The journal sets a high bar in both academic and social terms: “Last year, we met Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch just before she retired, and we also met with State Prosecutor Moshe Lador and Professor Gavriella Shalev,” Chanan and Yelena recall. They also held a training seminar for the new editorial board, as well as three social events – the traditional Lag Ba’Omer bonfire, a social event to mark the “changing of the guard” between editorial boards, and an annual event hosted by S. Horowitz & Co. “This year, too, we will hold all kinds of events,” the editors note in anticipation. “To be honest, the members of the editorial board sometimes find themselves running from one event to the next.”


Footnote: Mishpatim Online is the internet version of the journal, featuring brief academic legal articles on hot topics in various legal fields. The website maintains the high standards of the journal, but allows publication in a much shorter timeframe. “This serves our vision of influencing legal action on a real-time basis,” the editors note.

 

 

 Hukim (Journal on Legislation)

 

Editors: Dr. Guy Pessach (chief editor), Yael Efron (acting editor)

 

In a nutshellHukim focuses on existing and proposed legislation, as well as questions relating to the structure of Israel’s governmental and legal system. Some issues have a general character while others focus on a specific subject, such as local government. Acting editor Yael Efron notes that upcoming editions will focus on such subjects as consumerism, plea bargains and the Clean Air Law. “Many of our articles have subsequently been referenced in court rulings,” Efron notes, “and many authors add a note thanking the editorial board for their contributions to the article.”

 

A potted history: The journal first appeared in 2009 and is still considered a relative newcomer to the field. Deputy editor Oren Ron believes that this status offers many advantages: “There is a sense that we have managed to take all the logical and successful aspects of other journals. Other publications may continue to do things in a particular way due to inertia, but we had an opportunity to establish an efficient work process both for the editors and the authors.”

 

Students: Two students in their second year on the editorial who have shown themselves to be particularly capable serve as deputy editors under the acting editor. Efron discusses the profile of the student participants: “As in previous years, I have noticed again this year that many of the students on the editorial board are studying in another department alongside law. The advantage of this is that they bring broader interdisciplinary knowledge than the average law student.” Efron explains that this is reflected in their opinions of submitted articles, since they can suggest additional theories that can enrich the articles. “We look for people who want to take part in creating relevant knowledge that influences reality,” she emphasizes.

 

FootnoteHukim in Brief is the online version of the journal, in which students from the editorial board discuss proposed laws or noteworthy acts of legislation. The writing is more concise than in the journal, and the review process before publication on the site is quicker. Efron reveals that the editor of Hukim in Briefplans this year to invite articles from students who are not members of the editorial board.

 

 

 

Israel Law Review

 

Editors: Faculty Dean Professor Yuval Shany and Professor Sir Nigel Rodley of the University of Essex in England (chief editors) – both of whom are world-renowned scholars in the field of international law and human rights; Dr. Yael Ronen (academic editor) and Attorney Danny Evron (executive editor).

 

In a nutshell: The journal is published in English and specializes in the fields of human rights, public law and international law. The articles published in the journal are not confined to Israeli law, and the journal has a clear focus on international law. The journal is published under the direction of the Minerva Center for Human Rights.

 

A potted history: The IsrLR has published 46 volumes and is the oldest Israeli journal published in English. Since 2009, the Minerva Center for Human Rights has assumed academic responsibility for the journal, which has become a leading international platform for discussion of human rights, public law and international law. Since 2012, the journal has been printed and produced for the faculty by Cambridge University Press, one of the leading academic publishers in the world.

 

Students: Noa Yesselson, a member of the editorial board, shared her experiences working on the journal: “Some things sound really boring, like footnotes, but I really enjoy them. You’re reading one article, but it’s as if you’re actually reading a whole library – sometimes even a library in a foreign language other than English.” She continues: “It’s a bit like going behind the scenes of the articles. Suddenly you gain a much broader perspective.” Just as the articles in the journal undergo a process of development, so do the students on the editorial board. “At first I felt very uncertain,” Noa admits. “I realized that this isn’t necessarily because of a lack of knowledge, but because things really need checking and changing. They encourage us to ask questions all the time.” Noa says that the work on the journal also helps the students when they turn to writing their own academic studies. They gain experience in understanding when and how to include references.

 

Footnote: Alongside the academic activities, the Minerva Center also organizes meetings so that the members of the editorial board can get to know each other and meet key figures from the international law community.

 

  • In the next issue, the second article in the series will focus on the non-student journals in the faculty.

Vol. 13

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Vol. 13 April 2013
 
 
jslrlogo  
Write On!

In the previous issue we reviewed the journals in the Faculty in which students are involved * This time, we would like to introduce the non-student journals: the Jerusalem Review of Legal Studies and Shenaton ha-Mishpat ha-Ivri * Each of these journals enjoys a prominent and unique status in its field
Read More...

 
eliezer  
A New Law Faculty Member / An Interview with Professor Eliezer Rivlin

Professor Eliezer Rivlin, Deputy President (retired) of the Supreme Court, has joined the Faculty * We interviewed Professor Rivlin after he gave a lecture to the Legal Club of Faculty alumni and members * Professor Rivlin discussed his return to the academic world
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intern  
The Internship Chase: Alumni Stories

There are almost 16,000 law students in Israel * After they graduate, most of them hope to find the best possible internship * Four Faculty graduates who are currently working as interns tell us about their choices and offer some tips for future interns
Read More...

   
yogus  
“It’s Only Human to Cry, So I Did” – An Intern Discusses His Experiences at the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia

Many students are interested in working somewhere where they can gain legal experience * Somewhere where they can have an influence and change things while at the same time having an interesting work experience * Somewhere that has good human relations and dynamic and professional atmosphere * This may sound like a pipedream, but perhaps not * Internships at international criminal tribunals are one of the options the Faculty offers that may make the dream come true
Read More...

 
    
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Empirical Legal Center for Research Excellence

The first center for research excellence to be established by the Council for Higher Education in the legal field will be based at the Hebrew University. The center, which will include researchers from various faculties in the Hebrew University and the Technion, will focus on empirical research examining decision-making processes in the legal field. Professor Eyal Zamir and Dr. Doron Teichman of the Law Faculty explain the process that led to the establishment of the center and the studies it will pursue.
Read More...

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Who am I?

Short meetings with faculty students
Read More...

 
 
Ediror: Ronen Polliack
Editorial board: Michal Totchami, Zohar Drookman
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Faculty of Law - All Rights Reserved

An Interview with Professor Eliezer Rivlin

A New Law Faculty Member / An Interview with Professor Eliezer Rivlin

 

Professor Eliezer Rivlin, Deputy President (retired) of the Supreme Court, has joined the Faculty * We interviewed Professor Rivlin after he gave a lecture to the Legal Club of Faculty alumni and members * Professor Rivlin discussed his return to the academic world


Professor Rivlin only recently joined the Faculty, but he already had a chance to participate in the February meeting of the Legal Club, which brings together alumni and Faculty members. The meeting was hosted by the Nazareth Bar and focused mainly on issues from the field of damages law. The lecturers included the dean of the Law Faculty, Professor Yuval Shany, as well as Professors Israel Gilad and Khaled Husni Zoabi. The meeting ended with audience contributions, providing an opportunity for the alumni to share their views and thoughts.


"“Some of the participants in the event were my students during my earlier work in teaching,” Professor Rivlin relates. As will already be apparent, Professor Rivlin is no newcomer to academic life. For several years, and alongside his work as a judge, Rivlin taught various courses at our Faculty and in Tel Aviv University and the College of Administration. However, after his appointment to the Supreme Court he was no longer able to perform both functions. Rivlin has now retired from his position as Deputy President of the Court, and from the next academic year he will begin to teach a seminar together with Professor Barak Medina on the subject of constitutional issues, as well as a course on advanced issues in damages law.

 

Is there any added value in having Faculty members who have also worked in the legal system?

 
"“I think the combination of theory and practice is one that interests the students. It helps them to  be exposed to the perspective of someone who has put legal theory into practice and to learn how legal principles, theories and rules are actually implemented by the courts.”


What is the main difference between legal practice and academic work?


"“With hindsight, I can see a difference in terms of legal practice between the period when I worked in primary legal instances and my period on the Supreme Court. In the Supreme Court the point of gravity in the judicial work restswith the legal analisis hereas in the primary courts the focus is on the  reading the facts, managing the trial, processing the factual data, and drawing conclusions. Another difference is that the Supreme Court rulings constitute a binding precedent and effectively establish legal rules. This in itself means often that the Supreme Court engages in very extensive research, which brings us back to the academic field. This process of research touches on a wide range of fields. Personally, I found this combination of academia and practice very important . The transition now isn’t particularly dramatic for me, since I taught for extended periods in the past. Even during my time on the Supreme Court I felt that I was involved in the academic side of the profession.”

 

   

 

 

 

eliezerR


Professor Eliezer Rivlin

So I gather that there are many similarities between work on the Supreme Court and academic work. 
           

"“We can see a welcome tendency in Israel that is not found in other legal systems to quote academic articles and literature in the court rulings themselves – and particularly to quote Israeli academics. Many rulings draw on academic work. In my opinion this is an interesting and welcome phenomenon. It creates mutual feedback and both sides can only benefit from this situation. Academia learns from court rulings,  it also studies and criticizes them.”

 

What is your impression of the future generation of jurists here in the Faculty?

 

"“I don’t want to compare one generation to another, but we have an excellent generation of students here now. It’s interesting to teach them because they bring fascinating insights, criticism and theoretical analysis. Teaching methods have changed, of course, and we also have a new generation of lecturers. My impression is that there is a very high standard of critical thoughts, and presumably this is a tool that has been acquired in the Faculty of Law. When we discuss court rulings in class, it’s clear that the students have read the rulings critically and intelligently. I think that when they reach the stage in life when they begin to put their ideas down in writing, they will find the courts very receptive to what they have to say.”

 

 

In what ways do you think the teaching methods have changed?

 

"“There’s a stronger emphasis now on a multidisciplinary approach, which wasn’t the case in my day. The legal profession used to be taught in isolation, without any multidisciplinary references. Things have changed, of course, and now we have programs that combine law with economics, psychology, feminism, and so forth. These combinations add numerous aspects and tools to law itself. For example, the economic analysis of law provides tools that enhance our understanding of the consequences of the judicial act. Judges naturally continue to be responsible for applying normative decisions, but methods such as law and psychology, law and economics, can provide tools for understanding the ramifications of these decisions in the field.”


Do you have any expectations as you return to the academic world?


"“The main thing is that I have come back to a field that I like. I feel that I have come home. I always thought that when I grew up I would be a university professor. Well, I’ve certainly grown up now and I can realize my dream of teaching at university as my main occupation.”

 

An Intern Discusses His Experiences at the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia

“It’s Only Human to Cry, So I Did” – An Intern Discusses His Experiences at the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia 
           

Many students are interested in working somewhere where they can gain legal experience * Somewhere where they can have an influence and change things while at the same time having an interesting work experience * Somewhere that has good human relations and dynamic and professional atmosphere * This may sound like a pipedream, but perhaps not * Internships at international criminal tribunals are one of the options the Faculty offers that may make the dream come true

“’It’s only human to cry, so I did,’” says Chanchalu, his voice cracking and his stomach churning as he stands before the tribunal. Sitting in the courtroom, I also couldn’t stop my tears. But the attorneys warn us interns not to let our emotions show… So instead of crying I’m writing, in the hope that what I write will manage to convey the story of the victims of the horrors in Yugoslavia and to bring their words to wider audiences. I hope I can help to promote the important heritage of the international criminal tribunals and to encourage a different and more positive kind of discourse in Israel regarding the goals and significance of these bodies.”

     lubin

The above piece was written by Asaf Lubin, aged 27, a fourth-year student in the Faculty. Lubin participated in a three-month internship in the office of the prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague. He agreed to share with us some of his thoughts following this powerful professional and emotional experience.


How did you find yourself in this program?    

"“I had already participated in a similar program at the Law Faculty run by the Minerva Center which placed students on internships in the international tribunal in Rwanda. The tribunal has completed its work and is about to be closed. At the time there wasn’t another program of this kind in the Faculty (although they are now working on a new program), so I applied independently to the International Tribunal in The Hague. I don’t receive academic credit for the internship, but the Faculty supports my participation, allowing me to take the third exam sittings and providing various other benefits. The Faculty encourages students to participate in these kinds of programs, even though they are not held under its auspices. The internships are unpaid. If anyone’s interested in applying, it isn’t as expensive as it sounds. An apartment in The Hague cost me 300 euro a month – less than in Jerusalem. The Foreign Ministry can also provide scholarships.”


What does the internship involve?            

“I was allocated to the prosecution against Ratko Mladi?, the former Bosnian-Serb chief-of-staff during the civil war in Bosnia in 1992-1995. My job was to prepare the prosecution file for the evidence stage. Every day we presented one or two witnesses. I had to prepare a whole group of witnesses. I’d sit with the witness, listen to their story, prepare the questions with the attorney and prepare the witness to answer the defense’s questions. I was under the authority of a woman who’s responsible for the interns and she manages the work. I also had a mentor who I met with at the beginning, middle and end of the internship. The mentor gives you tools, tips and letters of recommendation as is supposed to continue to help you as you develop your professional career.”


What does an intern’s typical day look like?   

“The working hours are from 9 am to 5:30 pm. It’s a very social working environment. The interns work in huge rooms with an average of 12 to 15 interns per room. They’re all about the same age as you and they come from all around the world. The tribunal itself operates until 2 pm. In the morning you might already have your suit on and be on your way to the tribunal, or you might be preparing files for the attorney. There are also all kinds of procedural tasks, such as preparing summaries of testimonies or what they call ‘disclosure charts’ containing the material that is disclosed to the defense.”


How do you manage to learn the procedural rules you need to follow? 

“The internship mirrors the things you learned in the Faculty. Before I’d even done my internship in Israel, I was already writing an application to the tribunal to summons a witness, filing an application to remove witness protection, and so forth. The tools I acquired in the Faculty, particularly in Gil-Ad Noam’s course on international criminal law, were very useful. During the first few weeks of the internship they provide courses explaining the system, and a lot of times a more experience intern works with a newcomer. Just before I completed my internship a new intern from Belgium arrived and she used to ask me questions. Within three or four weeks you understand everything that’s going on around you.


Did you encounter any difficulties? 

“Some of the projects, such as updating the systems, are very technical and fairly exhausting. After all, you’re only an intern. But there are moments when you can truly stop and say that you did something meaningful. For me, these were the moments when I worked with the witnesses and prepared papers that later became official prosecution documents. Another difficulty is that the work is very emotionally draining, because most of the witnesses are victims. I think that side of the work gave me a new perspective on our own history as a people and on the significance of international criminal law. One witnesses worked in a hospital and lost her legs after she was struck by a mortar. During her testimony, Mladi? interrupted and cursed her. I couldn’t believe it. You can also look at it from the theoretical angle: does someone like him really deserve due process of law? The detention center in The Hague is by the sea and the inmates have courses in arts and crafts. You find yourself wondering whether they really deserve such good conditions. But there aren’t any right answers. Your emotions become mixed up with questions of justice, revenge and deterrence – all the themes you study in the first-year course in penal law.”


Are there also interns on the defense side? 

“The defense has a separate department, a kind of public defense mechanism that is based in The Hague and sends attorneys to the various tribunals. It’s hard for me to imagine how someone can work as an intern for the defense.”


In what ways does the experience differ from international law studies in the Faculty? 

“Imagine yourself sitting a couple of meters away from someone who was directly involved in managing genocide. The name Ratko Mladi? doesn’t mean much to us, but for the average Bosnian it’s not all that different from hearing the name Hitler. You sit really close to him, and he shows no shame at all. He is very loud and the judges often threatened to remove him or accuse him of contempt of court.”


What are the main things you have learned? 

“I have learned that the wheels of justice really do turn very slowly. Before I went to the tribunal, I thought that I was going to write the next Tadi? ruling – one of the most important rulings in international law. Even at this stage I can tell you that it’s not going to happen! I’m dealing far more than I expected with the procedures that determine what can present with the witness. It become more about procedure than substance. On the first day when I saw all the Excel files of evidence I had to cope with, I wondered what I was doing here.”


What was your answer to that question? 

“As an experience it is one of the most amazing things I’ll take with me from my academic studies. Working with the witnesses was the real core of the internship: that’s where I realized what it means. What I’m doing is much bigger than some legal rule I read about in a textbook. This is the human significance of the work of the International Criminal Tribunal. I didn’t realize just how powerful this dimension is until I came here.”


Apart from the relatively low cost of living, what else does The Hague have to offer? 

“The Hague is a city of interns. At any given time there are 400-450 interns from all around the world working in dozens of different tribunals, some of which we barely think about, such as the Lebanese tribunal established following the assassination of Hariri. The atmosphere is a bit like an American college. Every day the interns go out together. They have their own weekly newspaper and of course there’s TND – Thursday Night Drinks. Apart from that, The Hague is a beautiful city. Everything’s close by. Amsterdam is only thirty minutes away and you can easily take weekend trips to German, Belgium and France.”


Who is right for this internship? 

“I’ve never been on a student exchange, so for me this was an opportunity to get to know students from around the world and to learn about different legal cultures and approaches. I think this is important for everyone, even if you aren’t planning a future in international law. For students who are interested in the field, I think it’s pretty much a must. This experience is vital for MA studies in international law and for future work in the United Nations, for those thinking of that direction. The time spent in the tribunal counts as double time because it’s already a United Nations framework. It’s also a great professional experience for anyone who’s interested in criminal law. Most of the attorneys on the team aren’t international lawyers – some of them didn’t even take the international law course in their faculty. To sum up, I would say that it’s a great experience, and if you have the opportunity – go for it!”

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Researchers in the Field

Researchers in the Field / Empirical Legal Center for Research Excellence 
           

The first center for research excellence to be established by the Council for Higher Education in the legal field will be based at the Hebrew University. The center, which will include researchers from various faculties in the Hebrew University and the Technion, will focus on empirical research examining decision-making processes in the legal field. Professor Eyal Zamir and Dr. Doron Teichman of the Law Faculty explain the process that led to the establishment of the center and the studies it will pursue.


“The main contribution the center makes is to provide a more stable foundation for future legal thought.” This was the summary offered by Professor Eyal Zamir regarding the importance of the new Excellence Center for Research in the Hebrew University – the first of its kind in Israel. The center is headed by Professor Ilana Ritov of the university’s School of Education and Cognition Studies, and focuses on empirical legal research.           

The new center was established as part of the second wave of the I-CORE program (Israeli Center for Research Excellence), which was initiated in 2010. The program has already established 15 centers for excellence in various fields and serves as a flagship project channeling significant funds for academic research in Israel. In addition to promoting research, the program also encourages the recruitment of new faculty members, including Israeli academics who have left the country as part of the “brain drain” phenomenon. Dr. Yonatan Givati, for example, has returned from his doctoral studies at Harvard Law School and Harvard Economics Department and will be joining the new center of excellence. The members of the center will receive research grants in order to enable them to devote themselves to their research work.

             

How did you initiate your proposal?

 

“A preliminary request for proposals was issued to examine relevant issues,” says Teichman, a member of the team that drafted the proposal. “This was basically a brainstorming process, and of about 1,200 ideas 18 were selected. One of them was empirical legal research. Over 60 proposals were submitted in the various fields, and finally 11 were chosen.”            


Were you surprised when you won?

 

“Actually,” Zamir admits, “when we received the report on our preliminary proposal we did not think we would win. We improved our proposal in line with the comments we received on the pre-proposal and eventually won the grant.”
           


 

     

doron


Dr. Doron Teichman

Decision Making in the Field

 

The new Center for Research Excellence (CRE) promotes an interdisciplinary approach. In addition to its head Professor Ritov, the members include several other researchers from non-legal fields: Dr. Assaf Zussman and Dr. Moshe Shayo of the Economics Department; Professor Yishai Yaffe, dean of the School of Business Administration; and two professors from the Technion – Ido Erev and Eldad Yechiam. In addition to Zamir and Teichman, Professor Alon Harel and Professor Assaf Hamdani of the Law Faculty are also members of the center.

 

 

How did this team come together?


“Our goal was to create a team with a common methodological approach,” Teichman explains. “We might disagree on specific issues, but the proposal itself focuses on the examination of the decision-making process. Eyal and I worked with Ilana Ritov, who is an expert on decision making, and together we decided to look for people who would be suited to this framework.”

             

What will the center do?


“We will engage in the empirical study of economic and behavioral analysis,” says Teichman. “Our work will focus to a large extent on economics and psychology. We want to examine dimensions of rationality and irrationality in decision making.”


           

Zamir expands: “You can divide empirical studies into two and half types. The first type consists of empirical studies that seek to create and analyze the largest possible database about a given reality in order to see how law affects that field. The problem is that it is very difficult to isolate the different factors explaining outcomes. The second type is experimental, focusing on an examination of the differences between a trial group and a control group. In experimental studies, one can isolate the effect of specific variables, though sometimes the external validity of the findings, outside of the laboratory, is unclear.”


           

What about the half type?


“That’s an attempt to take the best of both worlds – randomized field experiments. We go into the field and try to introduce random changes in order to examine their impact on reality. This solves the problems of identification and validation.” 
           

By way of example, Teichman describes a study undertaken by Zussman: “he publishes a sales advertisement on various online boards and examines whether the seller’s name influences the number of calls received. All the other details in the advertisements are identical. So far, it seems that advertisements with Arab names receive fewer calls. After he discovered this, he started to look into private advertisements without names, and found that a disproportionate number of these were placed by Arabs.”

 

           

 
Replacing Intuition with Information
 
           

The CRE is a collection of several researchers under a single roof. The methodological format is unified, but the studies themselves vary. 
           

“One of my studies, for example,” says Teichman, “examined a question that relates both to law and society and to law and economics. I investigated why Israelis quote prices in dollars in real estate transactions. This seems strange, since signing an agreement in foreign currency incurs risks. Such behavior is rational in conditions of hyperinflation or when the central bank controls foreign currency, as was the case in the past in Israel. But this phenomenon continued even though Israel has adopted a free market model and the inflation rate was dramatically lowered.”

 

                    

    

 

 

eyal


Professor Eyal Zamir

What did you discover?

“This phenomenon continued to be seen until the subprime crisis and the fall in the dollar. I looked at archives of real estate advertisements and found that within a few months they all switched from dollars to shekels.”            

Did you investigate why this happened?

“In my interviews I realized that people still think about their apartments in dollar terms. This may be a case of status quo bias – switching from dollars to shekels constituted a change, and people are reluctant to make changes. As a result people made inefficient contracts until they learned the hard way and lost large sums of money.”

 

 

Zamir gives an example of a study that leans more to the experimental side. Zamir, Teichman and Ritov “presented the respondents with a scene where someone has been caught speeding at night. We asked whether they would convict the person. In half of the questionnaires the person was caught by a speed camera, while in the other half two cameras at different points recorded the precise time in which the car passed by them, so that the speed could be calculated according to the distance between the two cameras and the time elapsed. There was a huge difference in the willingness to convict the offender in favor of the speed camera. A series of similar experiments established that there seems to be a psychological pattern – people are hesitant to convict someone on the basis of an inference, even when the objective probability and the subjective probability estimates are similar.”

             

Is this phenomenon seen in the contemporary legal world?


“In some cases the legislator defines offenses relating to behaviors that don’t really bother us that much, such as possessing stolen goods or being found near a bank with a tool that could be used for burglary. The legislator is concerned that the judge will not draw the conclusion that someone who possesses stolen goods is a thief, so it solves the inference dilemma.” 
           

Does this mean that future legal experts will be statisticians?

 

“Legal thought includes a very strong normative foundation: what goals and values do you want to promote? These studies mustn’t be seen as competition for legal thinking: they are merely an addition. They will never replace conventional legal thought, but they will replace intuition with information. It is important to recall that intuition is merely the first step in the process of legal thought.”

Students

Students

 

 

Who am I? Benjamin (“Binny”) Ashkenazi

Age: 27

Year: 3


The facts: Binny began his academic adventure at the College of Administration in Rishon Lezion. He explains that he didn’t have an easy ride: “I have a learning disability and I had to struggle really hard to get here, because my psychometric score is fairly low.” Binny went to the Knesset Education, Culture and Sport Committee and overcame countless obstacles before he achieved his goal of being accepted by the Hebrew University Law Faculty. “From the moment I got to the College of Administration I worked to get the highest possible grades so that I could switch to the university,” he recalls. Although he was rejected the first time he applied, Binny did not give up: “I contacted the rector and the dean of students, and eventually I submitted an appeal to the Evaluation Committee for Learning Disabilities in the Law Faculty,” he explains. Binny’s story had a happy ending: the university eventually accepted him. “Class began on Sunday, and I only heard on Thursday that I had been accepted. 

 

    

 

 

binny

Shoshi Ben-Amram, the coordinator of undergraduate studies, suddenly called me and told me to come up to Jerusalem so she could prepare a study timetable for me.” Binny stresses that the way he was treated by the Hebrew University was the best of all the universities he applied to. Binny’s main motive for moving was the tuition fee, which is about one-fourth of that in the college, but he has other reasons to be pleased with the change: “The market is saturated and if you want to find a good internship the reputation of the Hebrew University gives you a good start.”

Binny is originally from Jerusalem, so the move was also a homecoming to his natural environment. When we asked him about the difference in the level of studies, Binny replied: “I couldn’t claim that the effort I have to make at the Hebrew University is the same as at the College of Administration. The reading material is similar, but the grade standardization system and the generally stronger starting point of the students in the Hebrew University makes it more demanding here.” Students moving from a college to the Hebrew University might be nervous about how they will settle in, but Binny says that things went smoothly: “People weren’t arrogant: everyone was very friendly and helpful. Sometimes we got into arguments about the differences in the standard of studies, but we always ended it amicably. After all, I’m better placed to make the comparison since I’m familiar with both institutions.”

 

Why law? “Because I have a learning disability, I knew that I couldn’t go for the sciences,” Binny explains. Binny considered the humanities, but was unsure whether that would provide a decent living. He looked for a related field, and today he declares that he is happy with his choice – “even though I sometimes curse myself when it comes to exam time.”

 

A second hearing: Binny is participating in a clinic on the rights of people with disabilities and is also working in the Israel Bar’s program “Give and Get,” in which students represent disadvantaged clients in civil cases. “I have been exposed to a very wide range of cases and I’ve met the finest side of the legal profession. I often ask myself whether the law does more good than bad, and through this work I have been pleased to see the good side,” he smiles. Binny explains how he helped a man to reduce his debt significantly. He also helped another man who was on the verge of bankruptcy. “Sometimes you can see that they are simply disorganized, so you sit with them, get things in order and that can be enough to save them. You see good people who find themselves fighting bureaucracy. Even as an upstart undergraduate, you realize how much power you have and how much you can do to help them.”

 

Who am I? Lior Mizrachi

Age: 26

Year: 3

 

Why law? Lior is combining her studies of law with social work. This is an unusual combination, but she explains: “For me, social work was a natural choice. Both my parents are social workers who are employed in community centers, so I was following in their footsteps.” She adds that since it was so obvious that she would study social work, she wanted more of a challenge. When she heard about the combined law and social work program she was very excited. “Law is a very important tool for advancing the goals of social work,” she declares. “In that sense, it’s a very logical combination.”

 

 

lior

The facts: Lior is not only studying the theoretical aspects of her interesting combination. She is also putting her beliefs into practice in the field, participating in a project of the organization Ma’aglei Tzedek (“Circles of Justice”) called The Gatewatchers. The project works with school security guards in Jerusalem. “The volunteers go to schools an preschools, talk to the guards and give them leaflets explaining their rights,” Lior says. “We also check how they are treated and suggest that they keep a record of the hours they work.” The guards can bring their salary slips to be checked, and the volunteers look for any violations of labor laws. “We find plenty of violations,” Lior says decisively. The goal is to make the guards aware of the possibility of asking the security company to correct violations, and of suing them if they fail to do so. “I was shocked to see how the companies make money at their employees’ expense,” Lior says sadly. “The guards are not usually aware of their rights and don’t know how to fight for them.” This work does not require legal knowledge or expertise in social work, but both fields certainly enhance the project’s effectiveness. Analyzing pay slips requires an understanding of labor law. Although working with people and gaining their trust are partly a function of personality, Lior emphasizes that “I come to these meetings with all that I have learned.”

 

A second hearing: In her spare time, Lior also works as a professional Pilates instructor. In her first year she started a group in her living room, and she now teaches three groups in her home and two in a studio at the Bank of Israel. In addition to education to healthy living, Lior is also works as a teacher in civics and democracy classes in the Knesset and the courts. Groups of 9th-12th graders participate in guided tours and workshops on such subjects as freedom of expression, the rule of law, Israel’s electoral system, and so forth. “As an instructor, I feel that I can influence young people even in such a short timeframe,” Lior explains. “My main message is that it’s always important to keep up to date, to read the news, and to realize that we can influence things.” Although Lior admits that all her extracurricular activities leave her little time to rest, she says that gets much satisfaction from her areas of involvement.

 

 

Who am I? Tom Kovatchy

Age: 25

Year: 2


Why law? “I never considered anything else,” Tom admits. “I always tried to decide what area would enable me to change society,” he declares, adding that he doesn’t imagine that he will work in the private sector. Tom originally comes from Rosh Pina in the far north of Israel, and it was no coincidence that he chose Jerusalem. He claims that of all the Israeli cities that have universities, Jerusalem is the least like a big city. “Here I feel that people live together and not on their own. Unlike Tel Aviv, in Jerusalem people eat Friday night dinner together and there’s a feeling of togetherness.”


           

 

tom

 

The facts: Over the past year, as part of his effort to get to know the university and the city, Tom has worked as a guide in the Faculty’s Orientation Week. The orientation guides accompany new students from the moment they are admitted to the Faculty. During the week before the beginning of the academic year, all the new students come to the Faculty for an intensive three-day orientation program. They tour the campus and the city, including a visit to the Supreme Court. Tom explains that this orientation process helps ensure that the new students have a soft landing. “We work with the freshmen from the stage when they have to decide where to live through to questions about combining law with another field or what bus to take. We even give them a recipe for meatballs,” he laughs. Each guide is responsible for approximately 35 students, and the process does not end in Orientation Week. “We help them with all kinds of things in the Faculty, including how to study, how to read rulings and how to start writing essays.”

We asked Tom what skills make a good orientation guide: “The main thing is to be sensitive to others’ needs,” he states. “I don’t think you necessarily have to be the best student. It really doesn’t matter what grade you got in your contract law paper. You need a lot of patience and perseverance.” Tom describes the tremendous sense of satisfaction he gets from this involvement, and even claims that he would be willing to do it for free. “About a year and a half after the orientation, students still come to ask my advice. When I manage to solve a problem I feel really great.” Tom apparently willing to confine his involvement to the orientation program, as he also decided to join a program that helps students for whom Hebrew is a foreign language. “As a Hebrew speaker the first year was hard enough for me, so I could only imagine how hard it would be for someone whose mother tongue isn’t Hebrew,” he explains.

 

A second hearing: Ask any of Tom’s friends about him and the first thing you’ll hear is that he’s a passionate fan of Maccabi Tel Aviv soccer team. “When I was four years old,” he recalls, “I asked my father what team we supported. Since then I’ve traveled from Rosh Pina and Jerusalem to every match.” But Tom isn’t just a regular fan on the stands. He is active in the “Emblem Brothers” project, an association of people who met at the team’s matches. “A few guys decided they wanted to do more than just watch matches together,” Tom explains. “At Rosh Hashanah they collected donations for the needy, Holocaust survivors and hostels for people at risk.” The project has distributed blankets in winter and collected food parcels before Passover. Anyone is welcome to join in the activities, even if they aren’t a fan of Maccabi Tel Aviv. “I guess it builds a sense of solidarity, because when we meet at matches there’s something special about it,” Tom concludes.

   
   

Who am I? Avigail Leonarons

Age: 22

Year: 2


The facts: Avigail, a native Jerusalemite, is studying law and political science, but still finds time to be very active in the sports. This year, for example, she participated in the Jerusalem Marathon for the second time, and she even encouraged some of her friends from the Faculty to join her.


Why law? “I always found law interesting but I was afraid that maybe it was just a way to make money from other people’s troubles. Then I met a lawyer who worked in an American association and represents children and battered women. I realized that I could use law studies as a tool for fighting for justice.” Avigail is combing her law studies with a bachelor’s degree in political science. “I wanted to learn something else, too,” she recalls. What about plans for the future? “I don’t know exactly where I see myself, but I’m pretty sure it will be in the public sector.”

 

    

 

avigail

 

A second hearing: Avigail was an avid sportswoman before she started university. “I’ve played sport for as long as I can remember. In the past I danced and played basketball. Today my main field if cycling. I ride to university even in the rainy Jerusalem winter. I don’t think I’ve used the bus more than a dozen times all year. Even when I start to work as an attorney I hope that I’ll find time to ride to court, just as I ride now to the district court as part of my volunteering at the Breira Center.”

What about running? “I try to run twice a week, and even more often when I’m preparing for examinations, because you can’t just sit and study all day. For me, running is the greatest pleasure of the exam period. I get up in the morning and decide that I’m going to study until a set time and then go running. It helps to break the day up into different sections.” Avigail participated in the marathon this year for the second time. “My family and I trying to establish a tradition of running together in the marathon,” she explains. “We did the 10-kilometer run together – my sister and brother and me. There’s a great atmosphere in the marathon – it’s fun to see so many people coming together to engage in sport.”

The Internship Chase: Alumni Stories

The Internship Chase: Alumni Stories

 

There are almost 16,000 law students in Israel * After they graduate, most of them hope to find the best possible internship * Four Faculty graduates who are currently working as interns tell us about their choices and offer some tips for future interns


The third year students in the Faculty are currently choosing their internship for next year. While some students are certain that they want to specialize in the private or public sector, others are still unsure what direction they want to take. We spoke to four Faculty graduates who have already made their decision and asked what insights they have to offer the next generation.


 

   

Noga Blickstein            


Aged 27, intern in the Supreme Court with Justice Yitzhak Amit 
           

Why the public sector?


"“I’m not quite sure which I prefer, private or public,” admits Noga, who has completed her internship and must now decide on her next move. “In terms of the internship, I think the public sector is slightly preferable. In a short internship lasting just one year, I think interns in the public sector can be given greater responsibility that in the private sector.”

 

    

 

noga

     

Tell us about your internship:             
                                   

"“A court internship is different from other public internships,” Noga begins. “The Supreme Court is also different from other courts, because the cases are more significant and interesting and touch on complex legal issues that need particular reflection and study.” The interns prepare opinions for the judges about incoming cases, summarize the facts, write abstracts and make recommendations. The interns also perform functions supporting the justices’ work, such as arranging the courtroom, preparing files for hearings, researching legal literature and case law, examining comparative law, and so forth. “We also calculate compensation in damages cases and check various aspects in order to facilitate the writing of the rulings,” Noga adds. “Even if the final rulings do not include all the research we have done, it’s still valuable. For example, Article 79A of the Courts Law empowers courts to give a compromise the authority of a court ruling. When the justices suggest a compromise they don’t just pluck a figure out of thin air. We work hard so that the justice knows what compromise to suggest. He uses our research even if he doesn’t write a ten-page ruling.”

 


What’s special about this internship?

"“I think I learned a lot about how court procedures work, how justices seek to make their decisions, and how the litigants sometimes need to know how to interpret hints from the justices. I think there’s a lot of truth in the saying “hard cases make bad law.” The justices try to make their rulings as accurate and precise as possible. Sometimes people imagine a kind of Utopian court where judges sit all day making Solomonic judgments. In reality trials are much more practical and mundane, and the litigants also come with this approach. The court tries to find solutions for their problem. I’ve learned a lot about legal proceedings in all fields of law and I’ve worked on a wide range of cases. You are exposed to a large number of cases and you get a ‘taste’ of all kinds of fields. It’s a good opportunity to see which fields you find most interesting.”

What’s your tip for the younger generation?             
                       

"“When you’re in an interview, you sometimes get the feeling that the place isn’t right for you, let alone whether you’re right for them. It’s important to try to work out what message the place conveys and what you want. Sometimes we can’t make our minds up and try to collect external information to help us decide where to do our internship. But I think the feeling you get during your interview can really help tip the scales.” For students hoping to do their internship in the Supreme Court, we asked Noga what qualities she thinks are required for the position. “You need to be very thorough and to be capable of analyzing cases carefully and precisely,” she replies. “That’s true of the legal profession in general, of course. It’s easy to dismiss something that sounds implausible, but you have to avoid the temptation and make sure that everyone enjoys their day in court. As an intern, you help the justice make these checks, and the more seriously you take your job, the more the litigants get out of the process.” Noga also mentioned hard work, intelligence, human relations, and social skills in a small office as important qualities for the position.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Omer Ben Matitiyahu 
           

Aged 28, intern in Amit, Pollak, Matalon & Co. – Tax Department
           

Why the private sector?   


"“I’m very attracted to commercial law and particularly to taxation, which relates to all types of commercial transactions,” Omer explains. He also gives some specific reasons for avoiding the public sector: “I don’t see the professional horizon in the public sector. The possibilities for promotion are much more problematic. In terms of the scope of work, too, it seems to me that if you work from nine to five during your internship year, you learn much less than if you’re at the office until eight in the evening.” Matitiyahu is not put off by the long hours demanded by the major law firms.

 

   

 

omer

Tell us about your internship:             
                                   

"“Our department operates on a pool basis. I think that’s the best way of managing internships. Within a given field, you’re exposed to as many different people and opinions as possible and you have multiple sources for acquiring knowledge.” By way of example, Omer explains that he works with two partners, but when he wanted to diversify his experience he was added to a team from the commercial department working on a merger deal.

Many students are concerned that the major law firms will not provide proper training and will expect them to run before they can walk. Omer has a reassuring message: “My training process was nothing less than perfect. Whatever I’m working on, they explain how to do it and if necessary they correct me again and again. The learning process is vital in order to produce good attorneys. The firm is looking for interns to fill in a gap for a year: they want people who will grow together with the firm and become good attorneys, and in the future partners in the firm.” Omer was supposed to begin an internship in accountancy, but in the end he preferred to stay in the firm: “I realized that I enjoy the work here. The atmosphere is fun and family-like. The partners know my wife and I know their children.”

 


What’s special about this internship?

"“I’ve been here for a year and a half and I’ve dealt with things that none of the interns I know has been exposed to in other firms. One example is participating in high-level meetings in merger deals involving the some of the leading investment houses in Israel. Another is meeting with some very prominent names in the Israeli economy to plan their taxes. I negotiate with clients by myself, without an attorney being present, because they trust me. They’ve given me the tools and they know I can do the job.” Omer shared one of his experiences during his internship: “We worked on a deal to sell an Israeli start-up company to an American company. The deal was worth hundreds of millions of dollars and I was a full partner in the process from start to finish. When the deal was completed, the senior partner who managed the process sent an email to everyone in the office thanking all those who contributed to the process.” The senior partner made particular mention of four people who performed outstanding work, one of whom was Omer. “As an intern who’d only been in the firm for four months, it was far from obvious that I would be mentioned in this context. It’s very satisfying when people acknowledge your input and recognize its importance to the process. It makes you get up in the morning for work with a smile on your face,” Omer concludes.

What’s your tip for the younger generation?             
                       

“Rather than choosing a good law firm, you need to choose a good ‘school.’ The biggest mistake in choosing an internship is to look at the firm’s ranking and how many attorneys it employs. The first thing to do is to speak to interns in the firm and ask them how things work, how they feel, and how much they are involved in the process. If you choose to go to a high-ranking firm but you end the year with the feeling that you didn’t really learn too much, then the experience didn’t really do anything to build your future career.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   
Or Alkon 
                       

Aged 27, intern in Agmon & Co. (Jerusalem), Monopolies and Taxes Department


Why the private sector?

 

“Throughout my studies in the Faculty, I found commercial law the most appealing field,” says Or, who also experienced work in the Ministry of Justice as a student. “I spent a lot of time asking myself where I wanted to go. On the one hand the public sector embodies a lot of values, and that’s important. Even so, I decided that for my internship I had to try out the commercial market.” Or comments: “During your studies you see everything in black and white terms. But today I can see that private law firms aren’t all negative.” Private sector workers sometimes feel a need to do something different. In Agmon & Co. they’ve found a solution to this: the firm has launched a volunteering initiative. “Every worker is allocated 50 hours for volunteer work,” Or explains. “I am working at a center for blind people in a non-legal capacity.”                        

 

       

   

 

or

 

Tell us about your internship

           

Or participates in meetings with CEOs and company directors that we read about in the press. “We deal with very big cases, and the work is very much grassroots based. It’s not like a theoretical class about corporations. You get to see behind the scenes and it’s very interesting,” he relates. “I watch attorneys that I know are outstanding professionals and I learn from how they act. Sometimes I spend days on end attending meetings and simply listening. The firm believes that interns need to see everything, so I have a real opportunity to learn.”


What’s special about this internship?             
                       

“I decided to stay in Jerusalem, and at the time I made my decision it seemed to me there were two really top-rank firms in the city – Agmon and Yigal Arnon. Agmon has expanded significantly recently and it has a strong family character,” Or explains. “They look at your performance and your interpersonal relations and they’re not obsessed with how many hours you put in. The firm understands personal needs: for example, people who have children can leave the office early one day a week.” The firm is divided into teams that usually consist of one partner, two or three attorneys and an intern. “This method ensures that people get to know you and can see if you need help in a particular area.” Like Omer, Or has a positive message to convey regarding training in large firms: “You are treated as an individual and the relationship develops naturally. They take notice of you. I really liked it and felt I was part of the team. Tomorrow, for example, we’re all going on a staff outing together.” 

What’s your tip for the younger generation?             
                       

“People need to decide which field of law they finds most interesting, and then go to the top two or three firms in that field. The second most important factor are the personal relations and work hours in the firm. When I was a student I didn’t really think about reasonable work hours and I didn’t ask about it in the interviews. I just wanted to find a position in the best firm I could, and hope that they would also be decent guys. So what if I need to stay at the office for another hour in the evening – I’ll work like crazy and eventually it will be over. But it’s never over – the attorneys work just as hard as the interns. Firms that treat their interns well also treat their staff attorneys well, and the opposite is also true. Internship is your first step – it isn’t detached from the rest of your career. When you come to a firm you acquire credit there, so it’s worth making sure that you choose a firm that’s right for you in the long term.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yosef Berman 
           

Aged 28, intern in the State Attorney’s Office 
           

Why the public sector? 
           

“When I applied for law school I already knew that I didn’t want to work in the private sector,” Yosef recalls. “I wasn’t interested in how much I was going to make.” Yosef wanted to use his law studies as a basis for bringing justice wherever it is needed. “I know it’s a clich?,” he admits, “but I think this clich? is really brought to life in the public sector and I haven’t been disappointed.” He feels that attorneys in the private sector can sometimes find themselves at the mercy of their clients’ whims. “Even if you don’t like something and it goes against your beliefs you have to keep the client happy. In our case, the client is the state. It doesn’t dictate a predetermined outcome, but empowers you to reach the true and proper outcome according to standards of law and justice,” he claims. “I was looking for somewhere where I could give something to the country, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised to see just how true that is."

          
           

           
  

 

yosef

 

Tell us about your internship           
                       

“Some people seem to think that public sector workers go home at four o’clock in the afternoon,” Yosef begins. “Sometimes I only get home at ten o’clock at night, and every day is chock full with discussions.” Yosef explains that the intern “has to prepare an opinion ahead of legal discussions, at the request of the state attorney or his assistants. An intern is always present in the discussions, except for confidential inner meetings.” The State Attorney’s Office deals with hundreds, if not thousands, of requests on a wide range of issues. “For example, we might receive a letter from a woman who has suffered injustice, and we have to reply and see whether there’s any room for us to intervene or to refer her to the right place.” When asked what he has learned from his internship, Yosef replies: “I’ve lost some of the cynicism I might have had before I came here. I’ve been surprised to see that the typical student declaration that ‘we’re going to make sure justice is done’ is really present at the discussion tables here. That’s very exhilarating. The internship here is also a rare opportunity to rub shoulders with the very top names in the Israeli legal world. You have a chance to acquire real analytical skills.” 

           

What’s special about this internship?             
                       

Yosef says that his internship has exposed him to subjects he could not have encountered elsewhere, such as highly sensitive discussions and “all kinds of things you read about in the headlines.” He explains: “You get a bird’s eye view of everything that’s going on in the legal field. Of course the work can sometimes be tiring or prosaic, but you always have a sense of mission and an awareness that you’ve been given a rare opportunity to peek into the world of truly great jurists that you used to know from the newspapers and now you sit alongside them. Suddenly you start to see how processes work from the inside. You understand things that you used to criticize when you only read about them on websites. You get to deal with issues of life and death and you have a sense of true privilege.” Yosef describes the atmosphere in the interns’ room and in the State Attorney’s Office in general as very pleasant. “The door’s always open and you receive hands-on training, even if it’s not always immediate. If you need something they don’t forget you,” Yosef claims. “If you want to schedule time with the state attorney, you are free to do so. Another advantage is that whoever you call on the phone jumps to help you. If you need to speak to another attorney or to someone in a government ministry, you get straight to the top brass.” 


What’s your tip for the younger generation?             
                       

“Students from the Hebrew University Law Faculty enjoy a certain prestige and don’t have to spend time learning the penal code by heart. Your transcript sheet proves your knowledge, but what really matters is to be willing to give your all. They’re looking for people who can see the big picture and who have a smile on their face. You have to show that you have good interpersonal relations and can conduct yourself like a decent human being.”

Write On!

Write On! The Second Part of Our Series

 

In the previous issue we reviewed the journals in the Faculty in which students are involved * This time, we would like to introduce the non-student journals: the Jerusalem Review of Legal Studies and Shenaton ha-Mishpat ha-Ivri * Each of these journals enjoys a prominent and unique status in its field

 

Not Just Philosophy: The Jerusalem Review of Legal Studies

The Jerusalem Review of Legal Studies (JRLS) is a relatively young journal in the Faculty that is published in English. The chief editors are Professor Elon Harel and Professor David Enoch, who also serves as head of the Department of Philosophy. Professor Yoav Dotan, the previous dean of the Faculty, initiated the establishment of the JRLS approximately four years ago. Enoch recalls: “Yoav contacted Elon and me, and since then we have worked together on the journal. For the first few years the journal was a faculty project, and now it is published in cooperation with the Oxford University Press. Basically there was a partial takeover,” he jokes.

    

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Thousands of legal journals are published around the world. The unique aspect of the JRLS is that it is devoted entirely to detailed critical discussions, usually of books or relatively large research projects. “Yoav very successfully identified this underrepresented niche,” Enoch notes. Legal journals certainly discuss written materials, but the comments are usually isolated and sporadic. “Our forum meets the need for in-depth discussion of books in the field of legal theory,” he adds.

In the student journals, the articles are submitted for review by the editorial board. The JRLS operates in a different manner. If an interesting book is published, the editors invite the author and other writers to engage in critical discussion of the work. According to Enoch, each issue usually includes two or three such symposiums. “An actual physical symposium is held – usually in Jerusalem, but not always – at which three of four referees comment on the book and the author responds to the criticism.” A discussion follows and written summaries are submitted for judgment by the editors before appearing as written symposiums.

Although Enoch emphasizes that “it’s alright” if the journal is shaped to an extent by the identity of its editors, the JRLS addresses numerous and diverse areas that relate to his own fields of expertise and those of Professor Harel. The JRLS does not focus specifically on the philosophy of law, but rather on theoretical legal writing. “When we have a basic grasp of the field, we use our knowledge. In other areas we ask our colleagues for assistance,” Enoch explains. The judgment process differs from that in journals such as the Hebrew University Law Review. “In the Review, they usually reach a one-word conclusion – yes or no,” Enoch notes. “For us, the general goal of the comments is to improve the article. It’s a more discourse-based process, and the symposium is published in that form.” Another difference is that the editors do not judge most of the articles themselves: their main function is to find suitable referees.


Open and full access to the JRLS is available online. “It almost certainly won’t stay that way for ever,” Enoch predicts. “The Oxford University Press begins with an open access format to raise interest in the journal, but later they try to apply a slightly more economically viable model.”

 

 
Theory and Practice: Shenaton ha-Mishpat ha-Ivri


Shenaton ha-Mishpat ha-Ivri was founded almost 40 years ago. Justice Menachem Elon and Justice Chaim Cohen were its founders and first editors. “In their day, the main purpose of the Jewish law project and the Annual was to inculcate Jewish law in Israel. The articles were written accordingly,” explains Dr. Benny Porat, one of the current editors of the Annual. “Today we are in a slightly different place. The goal is not so much inculcation, but rather a type of dialogue between Jewish law and modern law – something a little more theoretical and philosophical.” Porat adds that in most cases this requires comparison to other legal systems in addition to Israeli law. “Today we are more interested in discourse and mutual influence, and less concerned about whether Jewish law was actually implemented in practice,” he notes.

The Annual is a peer journal that applies a fairly strict screening process. “We accept about 30 percent of the articles we receive,” Porat comments. “We don’t compromise on quality, even though it limits the range of articles we can consider.” He explains that the Annual examines Jewish law in a broad context. In addition to articles focusing on Jewish law itself, the journal also explores fields of general law and Jewish studies (Talmud, Jewish history and Jewish philosophy) that touch on Jewish law.

By way of example, Porat shares with us an article that appeared recently in the Annual. “Dr. Itay Lipschitz published an interesting article in the previous issue entitled ‘Legal Discourse among Judges.’” The article examines the way in which court rulings are written: should the judge write the ruling entirely on his/her own, or should all the judges engage in discourse about the ruling? Porat explains: “Jewish law offers an unusual perspective in this regard, encouraging judges to exchange views and to write their rulings through a process of consultation. Jewish law provides much more detailed instructions on this matter than Israeli law.” The article offers Israeli judges an alternative model for writing rulings based on dialogue and group work.

Another example of the Annual’s broad approach is an article due to appear in the next issue. The article was written by Ben Schwartz, a Faculty graduate and an accountancy intern in the Economic Department of KPMG Somekh Chaikin. Entitled “A Proposed Insurance Solution for the Problem of Women Whose Husbands refuses to divorce” the article was initially written as part of a seminar examining solutions for this problem in religious and civil law. Schwartz was educated in religious Jewish schools and explains that the interface between religious law and the state has always been part of his inner world. “I developed this idea gradually as part of my desire to try to offer as creative solutions as possible to this problem,” Schwartz explains. The facilitator of the seminar, Dr. Avishalom Westreich, suggested that Schwartz expand his paper into a full academic article, since he felt that it offers a realistic and practical solution that has not yet been discussed. Schwartz continues: “Since the article touches on a problem that essentially relates to Jewish law, it was a natural step to submit it to Dr. Benny Porat for Shenaton ha-Mishpat ha-Ivri.” The problem of married woman who cannot secure a divorce is one of the most complex and ancient problems in the Jewish world. Since marriage and divorce in Israel are subject to religious law, the problem has become more acute in recent decades. Despite the gravity of the situation, none of the solutions (religious and civil) raised over the years has been accepted in full. “The complexity of this issue, and its potentially explosive impact on relations between religion and state, motivated me to come up with an improved solution that has a chance of being adopted,” Schwartz recalls. “My background in economics as a graduate in accounting and my interest in the field of insurance formed the background for a proposed solution based on modern insurance law,” he adds. The article discusses the advantages and disadvantages of various aspects of insurance arrangements that can be applied in the context of women whose husbands refuse to grant them a divorce. Insurance laws are particularly flexible, thereby providing a creative solution on the basis of the “core” arrangements discussed in the article, subject to budgetary and political limitations.


The editorial board is currently working on the 27th issue of the Annual, which is due to be published over the coming months. The board members are Professor Hanina Ben Menahem, Professor Gideon Libson and Dr. Benny Porat. Shenaton ha-Mishpat ha-Ivri is considered the leading journal in its field, both because of the prominent status of the Institute for Jewish Law and because of the standard of the journal itself. “In recent years, our colleagues in Tel Aviv have given us some serious competition with their journal called Dinei Israel,” Porat admits. “This only encourages us to improve our own product. I think we’re standing up to the competition.” The Annual is ranked in the B category by the Jerusalem Index, which is considered a high rating.

Vol. 14

headerBFeng
Vol. 14 August 2013
 
 
beinish  

Supreme Court President (Ret.) Dorit Beinisch Joins the Faculty of Law

Leading figures from all sections of the Israeli legal community attended a conference honoring Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch on the occasion of her retirement * The numerous speakers at the conference represented the full legal spectrum in Israel, including senior academics, former and present judges, and veteran and young attorneys * We offer some impressions of the conference, as well as a special interview with President Beinisch as she joins the Faculty of Law at the Hebrew University 
Read More...

 
glicks  

The Sacher Institute for Legislative Research and Comparative Law: The Faculty’s Platform for Academic Publications

The Sacher Institute, which is based at the Faculty of Law of the Hebrew University, is the largest and oldest publisher of academic legal works in Israel * Professor David Glicksberg, the head of the Institute, tells us about some upcoming publications and discusses the challenges facing the Institute

   
badi  
The Institute of Criminology: A Jewel within  the Law Faculty

The Institute of Criminology was established as an integral part of the Faculty of Law * Every year, the Institute produces leading scholars in the field * We bring you a brief introduction to the Institute, the programs it offers, criminology in general and the dynamics between research and practice
Read More...

 
julia  
Competitions and Emissaries

Every year the Faculty sends students to represent the university and Israel in international competitions * Key events include the Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition and the ICC Moot Court Competition * Some of the participants share their experiences in the competitions and explain how they prepared for the events
Read More...

 
hazaga  

All the World’s a Stage 

Many people have noted the similarity between the theater stage and the courtroom * For eight years the Faculty has run a theater workshop that illustrates this connection in practical terms * The butterflies in the stomach of a prosecutor or defense attorney as they stand before the judge are very similar to those of an actor about to go out in front of the audience * The participants in the workshop gained two academic credit points – and enjoyed a once-in-a-lifetime experience 
Read More...

 
    
madorEng
 
field
Professor Yoav Dotan Discusses His Latest Book

Professor Yoav Dotan’s latest book, entitled Lawyering for the Rule of Law, will be published shortly by Cambridge University Press * We met Professor Dotan to chat about his book, which examines the transformation that occurred in the High Court of Justice Department(HCJD) of the State Attorney’s Office following Israel’s “constitutional revolution” * Does the department serve the government, the public or the court? * Professor Dotan summarizes the main conclusions from his study, and took the opportunity to reminisce about his student days
Read More...

mador1_eng

Who am I?

Short meetings with faculty students
Read More...

 
 
Editor: Ronen Polliack
Editorial board: Michal Totchami, Zohar Drookman
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Faculty of Law - All Rights Reserved

The Institute of Criminology: A Jewel within the Law Faculty

The Institute of Criminology: A Jewel within the Law Faculty

 

The Institute of Criminology was established as an integral part of the Faculty of Law * Every year, the Institute produces leading scholars in the field * We bring you a brief introduction to the Institute, the programs it offers, criminology in general and the dynamics between research and practice    


The Institute of Criminology was founded by Professor Israel Drapkin in the late 1950s, and is considered one of the longest-standing institutes in the world and the leader in its field in Israel. The faculty of the Institute includes outstanding criminologists, including recipients of the Israel Prize and the Stockholm Prize. The Institute currently offers MA and PhD programs, but is preparing to expand the curriculum and offer a BA program from the 2014-15 academic year. The Institute has some 200 students in three MA tracks: a research track with a thesis, a theoretical track without a thesis, and a practical track specializing in law enforcement. The Institute is also home to a group of MA and doctorate research students participating in its “Full Time” program.

The Full Time Student Program 

Intended for outstanding doctorate and MA students, this scholarship program provides students with a supportive environment while requiring them to devote most of their time and energy to research and other academic activities. In addition to working on their thesis or dissertation, these students work as teaching and/or research assistants. Their involvement in research projects led by faculty members often gives them the opportunity to make intellectual contributions that result in publications in peer-reviewed journals.


This program was created in response to one of the main challenges facing students for advanced degrees in Israel. “The average Israeli doctoral student completes his/her degree when s/he is already over the the age of 30. This is the average for Israelis who have served in the army. By contrast, a doctorate student abroad can graduate at the age of 25, creating unfair competition. Israeli doctoral students are thus preoccupied by the need to make a living and start a family.

 

 

badi1

 

Dr. Badi Hasisi, the head of the Institute

The net result is that it is far from easy to be a student for advanced degrees in Israel.” This explanation is offered by Dr. Badi Hasisi, the head of the Institute. The program creates a working environment that has produced a new generation of scholars who have later joined the Institute itself as faculty members or undertook post-doctorate studies abroad. Dr. Hasisi explains the rationale behind the initiative: “We make a considerable investment in this group, but this investment is definitely worthwhile. As we see it, one of the Institute’s tasks is to train brilliant and strong students who can later find a place in the Israeli academic community.” 

 

Tamar Bernblum, 34, is a student in the program and warmly recommends it: “I’ve met many doctoral students and I'm familiar with the different study tracks at the university. Doctorate studies can be a very lonely experience, and this program helps us build a peer group.” From a logistic perspective, the program provides office space, a computer and other equipment that meet the basic needs of the student. “We are treated as an integral part of the Institute,” Tamar emphasizes. “The program enables us to meet lecturers from around the world. In addition to providing a platform for learning, this also enables us to make connections and create personal opportunities,” she notes with satisfaction. Alongside the organizational platform provided by the Institute, the doctorate students cooperate among themselves in writing articles and help each other on a regular basis. “Naturally, friendships are formed. This is an experience that not all doctoral students at the university get to enjoy.”

 

tamar


Tamar Bernblum

In addition to a scholarship, participants in the program also have a chance to gain experience in teaching and research. “In this respect they address all our needs and help us build an academic career by means of the doctorate itself, as well as through teaching and research,” Tamar explains. “Every doctorate program in the university should try to meet this model, which I believe is very successful.”

 

Criminology as an Interdisciplinary Science 

Dr. Hasisi explains that criminology is an inherently interdisciplinary field. “The most important and groundbreaking studies in criminology are the ones that connect criminology with other fields.” In the law enforcement track, for example, a dialogue between the different areas involved in the field is vital. “A dialogue does not always take place between people from different institutions, for example between staff from the Israel Prison Service and police officers, despite the fact that these two agencies have important impact on each other’s work,” Dr. Hasisi argues. He notes that while not every academic field can be translated into policy, criminology has a strong affinity to both policy and theory. “Someone may undertake an interesting study on the impact of poverty on society, but it would not lead to significant change in society at large because it relates to sweeping changes that would be difficult to effect. The units of analysis are by their nature to broad and are on macro level,” he explains. Conversely, some studies in criminology address specific mechanisms on an “intermediate” level and can thus lead to real change, for example policies for enforcement, penalization and rehabilitation.

 

Research is the vanguard of the Institute, and motivating scholars to publish studies in top peer-reviewed journals is an extremely important factor. However, members of the Institute also maintain close associations with the law enforcement system and see their work as an opportunity to influence society. “We advance the field of research, publish studies and receive competitive research grants,” Dr. Hasisi explains. “We also believe that this education has a functional dimension, particularly for policy makers, such as senior police officers.” He claims that if a police officer hears an explanation of basic facts based on relevant research, this can influence the way the officer behaves in the field. Academics at the Institute recently received a substantial research grant for a study for the Israeli Prison Service, evaluating its existing rehabilitation programs and examining whether these programs lead to positive outcomes.

At the same time, the Institute also strives to develop the criminology community in Israel. “The biennial conference of the Israeli Society of Criminology, which was held last May, was run independently by the ISC for the first time. Professor David Weisburd, the former head of the Institute, serves as the president of the ISC, and the Hebrew University was the institution responsible for leading the conference.” Dr. Hasisi also notes the close and fruitful dialogue between the Institute and the global academic community. Criminologists from leading programs overseas visit the Institute, reinforcing its ties with the international community in the field.

All the World’s a Stage

All the World’s a Stage

 

Many people have noted the similarity between the theater stage and the courtroom * For eight years the Faculty has run a theater workshop that illustrates this connection in practical terms * The butterflies in the stomach of a prosecutor or defense attorney as they stand before the judge are very similar to those of an actor about to go out in front of the audience * The participants in the workshop gained two academic credit points – and enjoyed a once-in-a-lifetime experience

 

The Workshop 
Students who wish to participate in the theater workshop undergo preliminary screening by the workshop leaders, including Bentzi Faber and Shlomit Ben-Menachem. Over the academic year the workshop is led by an academic team and a professional theater team who work in cooperation with one another. On the academic side, the participants develop their critical examination of the legal system of which they themselves will later form part. At the end of a process that includes discussions, practical exercises, and reading rulings and other material, the students formulate their key conclusions from this experience. On the creative side, the participants prepare a production that aims to present their critique at eye level to legal and non-legal spectators alike.

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In rehearsal

 

The work includes an introduction to the world of theater, different theatrical genres, improvisation classes, character work and other experiences. The goal is to connect the average law student with the thespian world. At the end of the process, and under the supervision of the team leaders, the participants write their own dramatic work based on their life experiences and present it to an audience including Faculty students and the general public.

 

This year’s play was staged on June 4, 2013 at Mazia House of Theater and was based on several scenes from The Crucible (by Arthur Miller). A group of eight actresses created an analogy between witches and criminals, including in terms of societal attitudes, as a basis for a discussion of crime. The group struggled to understand who is a criminal, how crime is created, and whether society is responsible. Shlomit Ben-Menachem, the assistant director, explains: “One of the goals of the workshop is to put yourself in the other’s shoes – a skill that is very important for those in the legal profession: to play the role and to stay in character. We all think that we would never become criminals, but what makes me say that and how can I be so confident? People who turned to crime also never imagined that they would do so,” Shlomit adds.

 

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2013 Theater play

Breaking the Routine
Sapir Efron, 25, is a second-year student who chose to join the workshop in order to add some spice to her academic routine. “I found it difficult to concentrate on my studies all the time, and after the first year I wanted a break from the daily routine of frontal classes,” she explains. Sapir adds that she had not appeared on stage since her sixth-grade graduating party. Nevertheless, she decided to take the plunge and join the workshop. She does not regret her decision: “It’s been a real breath of fresh air for me. It energizes me and puts me in a good mood. There’s a great atmosphere in the workshop and I’ve made some wonderful friends I’m very fond of. I don’t think we would have been so open with each other in any other situation,” she suggests. As well as offering a break from routine, Sapir has also found the workshop useful on the academic front: “We touch in issues that we have studied in various courses in the Faculty. For example, I’m taking a course on manslaughter offenses, and in one class I just sat there and connected almost everything the lecturer was saying with our play.” Sapir summarizes her experience to date in the workshop: “I feel that the workshop has been an eye opener in many ways. It has enriched me and added real value to my week. At the moment we are writing texts and participating in long rehearsal sessions. It isn’t always easy, and sometimes it feels a bit much to combine this with all my other assignments, but it’s interesting and challenging. And the final outcome is something unique that comes from ourselves.”

 

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Theater play 2012

 


 

Behind the Scenes 
Dr. Anat Horowitz, a Faculty member, has served as the academic instructor for the workshop for the past two years, working alongside Professor Hanina Ben-Menachem, who founded the program. The function of the academic instructor is to present the participants with legal themes, which they then attempt to express in theatrical terms in order to deepen their understanding of the issues. “The instructor does not impose one specific theme on the group, but usually presents the dialogue between theater and law in a general way, and then illustrates it by means of several themes. Through the discussion, each groups sees which themes it finds interesting and where it has something to say,” Horowitz explains. She adds: “I think this is an amazing project that allows for unique learning on many levels. Like any art, the theater has its own language, enabling the expression of ideas and thoughts about law in way that cannot be achieved through the conventional means and tools used in the Faculty.” She also mentions other benefits of the workshop, such as enhancing the students’ ability to appear before an audience, the use of body language, and the ability to enter into another character by playing a role in a play. All these skills are also important for future attorneys.

 

 worldStage4

Competitions and Emissaries

Competitions and Emissaries

 

Every year the Faculty sends students to represent the university and Israel in international competitions * Key events include the Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition and the ICC Moot Court Competition * Some of the participants share their experiences in the competitions and explain how they prepared for the events

 

Jessup
The Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition is a prestigious competition in the field of international public law that has been held for over 50 years. Every year some 600 teams from law faculties in over 80 countries participate in the competition. Teams from the Faculty have represented Israel in Washington DC for the past seven years. Last year, the Faculty team reached the quarter final and ended among the eight leading teams in the world.

 

Yonatan Horowitz, a third-year student, participated in the recent contest and agreed to share his experiences with us. The entire process takes four or five months, during which time groups of about five students prepare their statement of claim and engage in real research. “In international law, many of the disputes relate to the question of what is law – is it establishes custom, international treaties, and so forth?” Yonatan explains. “Around September, they publish a case involving a dispute between two countries.” Yonatan notes that the competition organizers make sure that the subjects are relevant. This year, for example, the case related to three general issues: climate change, state debts, and migration issues. The writing assignments and the competition itself take place in English. After submitting their statements of claim, the participants begin to prepare for the national competition against the College of Management Academic Studies; the winning team then continues on to the international competition. “In the oral arguments stage, you stand up and present your arguments for 20 minutes in front of three judges who ask lots of questions and try to trip you up. Accordingly, it isn’t enough to just learn your own argument – you also have to know all the surrounding material,” Yonatan emphasizes. 

 

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Yonatan Horowitz and the Judges



Yonatan notes that students who participate in the program must be capable of constructing a coherent argument. They also need good English and should be capable of engaging in serious legal research. The critical factor for success in the competition, Yonatan feels, is willingness to invest and make sacrifices. “It takes away some of your time with family and friends and it affects your investment in other courses,” he admits. “People who decide to participate must be willing to pay the price. On the other hand, I think it’s the most challenging thing you can be involved in. I learned things that I don’t think I would have learned anywhere else in the Faculty.”

 

Yonatan reveals that the work process is anything but simple. “Sometimes it can get frustrating when you are trying unsuccessfully to find something. Sometimes you just feel that you aren’t good enough and you’re letting your team down.” This is where the importance of teamwork comes into play. “The team supports you and carries you along. It’s very important that the members of the team get on, because this is a very intensive process. In our group we really liked each other and we got on well, both professional and socially.” In addition to the friendships they made, the competitors also gained in other ways from their experience: “We all saw an amazing improvement in our ability to speak in public. Although English is not my native language and it was harder for me than for others, once you’ve been doing something for six months you develop your capabilities,” Yonatan concludes.

 

The Moot Court Competition of the International Criminal Court (ICC)
The Moot Court Competition is held in The Hague, under the inspiration of the ICC. The participants are required to play the roles of victims, prosecution and defense before global experts in international criminal law, including judges from the ICC itself, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), and academics. In the 2012-13 academic year, the Hebrew University participated in the competition for the second time. Its team finished in fifth place, out of 26 teams that reached the international final stage.

 

Adam Shahaf, the assistant coach for the 2012-13 team, explains that “the competition began several years ago on the initiative of a lecturer from Pace University in New York who wanted to encourage students to study international law.” The competition has provoked considerable interest among academics from the field of international criminal law, who see it as an opportunity to exert influence from their standpoints. The participation of our Faculty in the competition was initiated by the Minerva Center, which also provides academic supervision and logistical services for the process. “In November,” Shahaf explains, “they publish a fictitious case extending over a good few pages and combining a wide range of issues. The document simulates the procedural stage in court.” After the case has been published, the team begins to prepare for the international competition itself, which takes place in The Hague in April. “We begin with three statements of claim – defense, prosecution and a third party. The third party is usually the victim, but sometimes it is a state arguing that the case should be heard before a domestic court rather than in the ICC.” During the first three days of the competition, a preliminary round is held in which the teams draw lots and compete in “mini-matches” with two other teams each time. At the end of this stage, the nine best teams go on to the final. After the final, the students tour the ICTY and other tribunals.

rehersal

The rehearsal

 

Shahaf participated in the program last year, and this year served as assistant to team coach Dr. Rotem Giladi. In addition to the material addressed by the ICC, which is interesting in its own right, Shahaf explains that the competition offers a particularly interesting kind of learning. The practical goal of winning the competition adds a real edge to the process of writing the claims. “This is a wonderful experience that teaches you in the best possible way how to engage in legal research. I can still remember the main rulings in the area I researched, which key thinkers I needed to quote, and the main connections in my legal argument,” Shahaf reveals.

 

Sharon Aviram, 25, a first-year student, spoke as the team’s representative for the victims. Sharon was drawn to the competition because of her love of international law. As in the Jessop competition, Sharon is careful to emphasize the sacrifices expected of the participants. “The aspect of independent work requires a lot of self-discipline and cuts into your sleeping time. Sometimes it is really tough.” Sharon formulated the opening sentence she believes every student must ask themselves before joining the competition: “Ask yourself whether international law interests you – not whether it fascinates you, but whether it interests you, and whether you are willing to prioritize it over other areas.” She continues: “I appreciate the competition because I got something out of it. But for people who aren’t planning on working in this field in the future, it will come at the expense of other areas and it’s important to remember that.” Sharon describes the process as long, arduous and difficult, including many hours of work and research. With hindsight, however, “it was worth it.”

 

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Sharon and Yulia

 

On the day the team left Israel there was a strike at the airport, so the experience was particularly stressful. “We arrived a day late because of the strike. Everything was crazy. But the Faculty really came through. We had almost given up hope and we were beginning to think that after all our work we wouldn’t be able to get to the competition. Then the Faculty agreed to pay for last-minute flight tickets and eventually we arrived in The Hague,” Sharon recalls with excitement. After the preliminary stage, one of the young organizers of the competition joined the table where the Israeli team was sitting. “He said, ‘Look guys, don’t take this too hard but you won’t be going on to the next stage. Don’t be offended – look on it as an experience. You’re a new team, and there are teams here that have been competing for eight years.’” This was half an hour before they were due to announce who was going on to the semi final, and we all put our heads down in despair,” Sharon admits. “We were stunned to see our name in the list of teams who qualified to the semi-final. At seven o’clock in the evening our team received the statement of claims of the other teams that had made it to the semi final, and we had to prepare ourselves by nine o’clock the next morning. It was really like a battle plan in the army,” Sharon recalls. The participants divided themselves into the different positions, and then coach Dr. Giladi came up with a creative way of strengthening the arguments of Eitan (the team’s counsel for the defense) over those of the competing groups. “Everyone was focusing on the suffering the victims had endured. Eitan didn’t dispute that, but he asked whether that was what was of interest to the court at this stage. He declared that the defendant was guilty, and let everyone begin to think that if this was the case, what was there left to say? Then he said, ‘But hold on a minute… We are in a preliminary hearing. It may be that all these events indeed happened – but does that empower the court to hear the case?’ With one sentence, Eitan knocked the wind out of the prosecutors’ sails and brought the court back to the question it was supposed to determine at this point: the issue of competence.” The team did not make it to the final the next day. However, Sharon decided to approach the judge from the semi-final stage and ask him what he thought about the team’s move. “He said that he really liked it, and that made us feel much better. It was so good that we were only two points short of reaching the final,” Sharon recalls with a smile.

 

 

team

Professor Yoav Dotan Discusses His Latest Book

Professor Yoav Dotan Discusses His Latest Book

 

Professor Yoav Dotan’s latest book, entitled Lawyering for the Rule of Law, will be published shortly by Cambridge University Press * We met Professor Dotan to chat about his book, which examines the transformation that occurred in the High Court of Justice Department (HCJD) of the State Attorney’s Office following Israel’s “constitutional revolution” * Does the department serve the government, the public or the court? * Professor Dotan summarizes the main conclusions from his study, and took the opportunity to reminisce about his student days   


“In the mid-1990s, I already realized that the High Court of Justice (HCJD) in the State Attorney’s Office is a kind of nerve center for decision making in many different senses.” This is the summary Professor Yoav Dotan offers for the study presented in his latest book, Lawyering for the Rule of Law, which is due to be published shortly by the prestigious Cambridge University Press. The book discusses the transformation undergone by the HCJD following the rise of judicial activism and the constitutional revolution in the Supreme Court, as well as the ways in which this change has shaped public litigation in Israel.

 

What is special about the HCJD?
“My interest in the department as the object of academic inquiry began some 20 years ago when I worked as an attorney in the department for a brief period after completing my doctorate. From the perspective of both the administrative authorities and the court, the department’s function extends well beyond the standard definition of representing the government or the authorities before the court. Many processes by which the High Court of Justice influences government policy are moderated or mediated by the HCJD.”

 

What aspects does your book focus on?
“I examine the work of the HCJD on several levels, including the constitutional and theoretical plane as well as a historical review of its development and a qualitative and empirical analysis. My study is based on a very large sample of cases from the 1970s and the 1990s. The 1980s, of course, saw considerable change in the way the High Court of Justice functions. This period, which can be referred to as the breakthrough of judicial activism, saw the removal of restrictions on legal and judicial standing, the development of the grounds of reasonableness, the expansion of judicial review, and other changes. I wanted to examine how these changes were reflected in the practices and outcomes of the court hearings on the basis of a comparison of the period before and after this era of change.


What did your study show?
“We can see a dramatic increase in the scope of litigation in the High Court of Justice between the 1970s and the 1990s. My hypothesis is that the department adapted itself both in practical and ideological terms to the new role the court defined for it in the 1980s. The department focused not only on providing optimum representation for the government but also on helping the court to expand its sphere of influence over the governmental bureaucracy.”


 

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“Babysitting” Petitions

“In quantitative terms, the most dramatic and significant difference between the 1970s and the 1990s is the growth in petitions in which the state agrees to a settle. The jump in the rate of settlements is remarkable. We can also see changes in other aspects, such as the positions adopted by the state. In the 1990s, the initial position presented to the court by the State Attorney’s Office does not always call for the unequivocal rejection of the petition. In many cases, its position reflects a position that is independent from that of its client. This could be termed a more ‘statist’ position.”

 

 

How do you explain this difference in positions?
“I compare the outcomes of proceedings involving the HCJD with those of other authorities that are not represented by the department – mainly local authorities. In the latter case, we do not see the same process of change. I think my study shows in very clear quantitative and qualitative terms that the change that occurred in litigation was due to changes in the HCJD itself. Over the 1990s, we can see that a very wide gulf emerges, of about one to five, in the issuing of conditional decrees by the High Court of Justice against local authorities as opposed to the authorities that are represented by the HCJD. Anyone who is familiar with litigation before the High Court of Justice knows that a petition that does not secure even an conditionaldecree is one that has effectively been rejected out of hand, whereas a petition that secures such an order moves forward to a full hearing. This is a very critical point in the litigation. This shows that by comparison to petitions in which the HCJD presents its position, the court believes that the petition can be resolved without the need for a full hearing.”

 

This change could also lead to another de facto change, with the State Attorney’s Office moving to the front of the stage
“That’s right. One of the examples I analyze is the story of the rights of the Bedouins in the unrecognized villages in the Negev. Since the late 1990s, the High Court of Justice has virtually revolutionized government policy toward these villages. In the final analysis, this is a policy that has been directed by the HCJD.”

Can a reverse effect also be seen on the High Court of Justice?
“Today, the court itself refers to this phenomenon by means of the phrase coined by Justice Rubinstein – ‘babysitting petitions.’ The court functions as a ‘babysitter’ for the administrative authority, using a pending petition to make it adopt policy that tilts the situation in a direction that the court believes is necessary. This is far removed from our traditional perception of the court as an institution that provides immediate relief. Today, the court creates change in government policy through ongoing supervision. My argument is that the court could not do this without the cooperation of the HCJD.” [See also the interview in this issue with Supreme Court President (ret.) Dorit Beinisch, who also discusses the reasons why so many petitions are rejected or end without the need for a ruling].

 

Four Decades of Information

Professor Dotan has been involved in his field for many years and has collected an impressive database relating to some four decades of rulings by the High Court of Justice. Although he only began to write his latest book last year, it was preceded by a process of thorough research that is only partially reflected in the final product.


How do you set about executing such a huge task?
“I have always collected a huge quantity of data, and I continue to do so – particularly data based on the analysis of High Court of Justice cases. I examined the actual court files (and not only the electronic databases) – that’s a great deal of work. I also examined the pre-petition files (i.e. internal files of the HCJD in which the HCJD deals with petitions even before they are filed to the Court) and conducted many dozens, if not more, of in-depth interviews with attorneys from the HCJD, staff members from the State Attorney’s Office, judges, and attorneys who represented petitioners – all the players in the process. I should also take this opportunity to thank my many research assistants who spent long days in dusty archives. I won’t mention them by name, simply because there have been so many of them over the years. They were all students at our Faculty and they all performed excellent work in a thorough and responsible manner.”


What’s next?
“No promises, but I think one of my next projects will be a book about the High Court of Justice itself. I’m planning to write the book in Hebrew. If this idea goes ahead, I will be able to draw on the databases that I only used partially in the current project. But I’m not sure about it – time will tell!”

 

 

 

 

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Supreme Court President Asher Grunis and Professor Yoav Dotan

 

Memories of Undergraduate Days

Our conversation shifts from future plans to the more distant past. Professor Dotan has a long and rich history at the Faculty of Law of the Hebrew University. He began as an undergraduate student “straight after the army – one day you’re a soldier in uniform, the next you find yourself at the Faculty,” he recalls. He came back to the Faculty for his doctorate degree, joined the Faculty and even served as dean from 2005 to 2009. During the interview we chatted about his experiences as a Faculty student and his thoughts about today’s students.


What was it like for you when you began to study in the Faculty?
“The story I usually tell new students who come to the Faculty is that the main thing I remember from my first week was being hungry all the time. I didn’t know where the cafeteria was in the building and I just walked around hungry.”


What about the studies themselves?
“Basically I remember this period as a fairly happy one. Above all I enjoyed the intellectual experience of studying with people I strongly admired and saw as intellectual giants. I found the studies eye-opening and enlightening and I really threw myself into them.”


Had you already decided at this stage that you would have an academic career?
“No, that wasn’t my plan. I think I only began to consider the academic track after I traveled to UC at Berkeley for my master’s degree. As an undergraduate student, I always assumed I would follow the usual professional track.”

 

What aspects of the studies themselves stick in your mind?
“Even as an undergraduate student I liked public law. My teacher for constitutional law was Shimon Shetrit, and my lecturers for administrative law was Claude Klein, assisted by Manny Mazuz, who I would meet again when I worked in the HCJD. In terms of public law I was also an autodidact – I read a lot and learned things by myself, beyond the materials we were assigned in class.”

 

How would you compare the atmosphere in the Faculty today compared with your time as a student?
“The atmosphere in the Faculty was a bit different from what I gather from today’s students. Today’s students often complain about excessive competitiveness, but I think that law schools are competitive almost by definition. There have been studies about this. But my experience as a student wasn’t so competitive. The atmosphere was less stressful. I don’t really understand why today’s students feel so stressed and I am trying to fight this tendency.”

 

How were your relations with your year class?
“Well first and foremost – I met my wife in the Faculty! I think at least 15 couples from my year class got married. Some of my best friends – people I see almost every week at social events – studied with me in the Faculty. These are friendships that have survived to this day, at least in some cases.”

 

Maybe that explains why the atmosphere was more relaxed
“Perhaps. There’s something irrational about the way people feel now. It isn’t as though we didn’t feel pressure from the job market. On the contrary, it was very hard to be admitted for law studies at the time, and there were only a few institutions in Israel that taught the subject – the Hebrew University, Tel Aviv and Bar Ilan. But once you’d got in, you more or less knew that you wouldn’t have a serious problem finding a position in the market.”

 

How about today?
“I don’t think the situation has changed, at least not for students from this Faculty. Today, too, it is not easy to be admitted. But once you’ve got in, you won’t have a problem finding an excellent position in the legal profession. That’s why I really don’t understand why we always hear this story of pressure from the students.”

 

What about the relationship between the students and the Faculty?
“I think that today the Faculty does quite a lot to look after its students and invests more energy, resources and attention in the average student – or in all the students, actually – than it did when I was an undergraduate. I felt I received one of the best possible legal educations here. When I went on to work as an intern, I appreciated the tools I had been given here and I was grateful to my teachers for giving me the best tools a lawyer could have. But as individual students, we didn’t feel the Faculty was particularly interested in us, beyond simply teaching us law.”

 

Can you think of something the Faculty offers today that didn’t exist back then?
“Sure: the placement project. We assume responsibility for placing our students in the job market, wrapped up in cotton wool. It could hardly be easier. That wasn’t the case in my day. This is a classic example, but it isn’t the only one. As a Faculty member, I must emphasize that our approach is not to see the students as a kind of nuisance. We want them to be happy and to enjoy coming the Faculty. After all, the Faculty invests a lot of time and money – certainly by comparison to my days as an undergraduate. The student experience back then was very different. Today we have a different style of doing things. We seek to give the students the feeling that they are part of the Faculty.”

Students

Students

 

Who am I? Sarah Almo

Age: 23

Year: 1


The facts: Sarah immigrated to Israel from Ethiopia with her mother in 1991 and moved to Kiryat Malachi. “My mother died when I was seventeen and a half, but before she died she signed a form agreeing that I be drafted early to the army, since I had skipped a grade in school.” Sarah served as a manpower officer in the Central Command in Jerusalem, and at the same time worked with youth at risk in Kiryat Malachi. After completing a preparatory course at Tel Aviv University, she came to the Hebrew University to study law.

 

   

 

 sara

“I’m one of those people who know from a very early age what they want to do. I knew I was going to study and become an officer. I joined the army and didn’t claim the special conditions I could have demanded. I was a very challenging period; I learned a lot and enjoyed every minute of it,” Sarah says with a smile. Like many first-year students, Sarah is still finding her feet in the Faculty. “In my immediate surroundings I am very dominant, but here I feel a bit lost. If my girlfriends from school could see me now they say ‘What’s happened to you? Have you started taking Ritalin?!” she jokes. Sarah admits that because of her ethnicity she “stands out among the crowd,” and when she turns up for a class, people notice immediately. “The fact that I’m Ethiopian is something I’ve only really started to feel at university, simply because in Israel’s peripheral regions there are more Ethiopians. Apart from that, I don’t feel any difference. I was raised by my mother, who grew up in the city. That’s different from Ethiopians who were born in the country,” she explains.

 

Why law? Sarah took part in a project called Accessibility to Higher Education in the Negev – a three-year program in which school students can take courses at Ben Gurion University. “I took a course in law and I simply fell in love,” Sarah recalls. She describes her sense of outrage at seeing Chinese laborers sleeping in factories, and hearing stories from illiterate women who do not receive any explanation from their physician about the treatments they are supposed to take. “Over the years I’ve been exposed to more than a few injustices in Israeli society. I realized that people who do not know the laws or the way the bureaucracy works are abused in a cynical and shocking way,” she adds.

 

A second hearing: Jerusalem Day is also the memorial day for the Ethiopian Jews who died in Sudan as they tried to reach Israel. “In 1984, approximately 12,000 Ethiopian Jews began to walk from Ethiopia to Sudan. About 8,000 survived and reached Israel, but over 4,000 died on the way,” Sarah relates. Together with three other students, Sarah privately organized a memorial ceremony at the university. “It was very moving, and I hope it will become a tradition and that more students will take part.”

 
 

Who am I? Jessica Weintraub

Age: 24

Year: Master’s program

 

The facts: Jessica’s mother was born in Belgium and her father in Israel. Jessica came to Israel to study in the master’s program in the Faculty, and she is now specializing in intellectual property and law and technology. “I’m half Israeli, and when I’m in Israel I feel very Israeli. I’m living in Jerusalem, even though I really wanted to live in Tel Aviv,” she admits. In the final analysis Jessica is happy with her decision to move to Jerusalem: “It’s a very attractive city with lots going on. People here are very friendly.”

 

 


   

 

jess

Why law? Jessica studied for her bachelor’s degree in Brussels, Belgium, and decided to continue her studies at the Faculty of Law in the Hebrew University. “This is a university that has a very good reputation and is ranked among the top 100 institutions in the world. Apart from that, Israel produces a very large number of patents, which is an area I’m interested in. So for me it was a good deal to study and live here,” she explains. Jessica has no trouble identifying the differences between the study methods in Brussels and Israel. “Things are more practical here. There are lots of assignments to submit and all the time you have to convince people of your own position. In Brussels you just show up to class and listen. Here you have to work every day.” Nevertheless, the hard work demanded in Israel has a good side. “Compared to Brussels, there aren’t so many examinations at the end of the year, and you aren’t flooded with information that you didn’t study over the year,” she notes. As for her Israeli fellow students: “People here are more mature and they find it easier to participate and present their arguments. Sometimes I feel that I have less experience and fewer ideas,” Jessica confesses. Since she came from the Continental legal system, she can also identify the differences in this respect. “In Brussels, when I need to study a court ruling it’s usually quite simple, and we examine it just in order to illustrate what we learned in class. Here it’s the most important aspect and you have to think more – the law doesn’t include everything, and court rulings always change some aspects.”

 

A second hearing: While she was studying in Brussels, Jessica used to come to Israel to volunteer on kibbutz during the vacations. “I went to kibbutz to chill out. It’s like Club Med – you don’t really know what’s going on the outside world,” Jessica comments. “Eventually I decided to move to Jerusalem, because I wanted to have a taste of real Israeli life.” The festivals were the time when she felt this most strongly: “It’s a really warm feeling. I never celebrated the festivals in Belgium, but here everyone does it, so you want to join in and you never feel alone. Even if you don’t have any family to celebrate with, people invite you over.” Jessica was in Israel during Operation Pillar of Defense. She recalls that when her friends from Belgium used to ask her about the security situation, she explained that compared to what they were seeing on television people weren’t that stressed. “The first time the sirens sounded I was nervous,” she admits, “but the second time I was calm just like everyone else. You get used to it.”

 
 

Who am I? Yaacov Gorovoy

Age: 25

Year: 2

 

The facts: Yaacov is originally from Ramle and now lives in the French Hill neighborhood of Jerusalem. Whatever he does, he likes to do it well. Although he had dreamed of studying law since he was a young boy, he came to the studies through a roundabout and competitive course.

 

Why law? “At first I tried to study computer science, but I couldn’t stand it. I wanted to do something where you enter the office through the front door, not in the back. Whenever I used to look at myself and wonder if I’d be an astronaut or a poet, it always came back to the same point: becoming a lawyer.
   

yaacov 

 

I got it from the television serials – I wanted to be like the characters who strike a real pose, make a speech, and everyone applauds and wipes away a tear. Later I found out that I’m good at that, too, or at least better than I was in the other things I tried out. I find the studies at the Faculty much more interesting than I expected.”

A second hearing: Computer science wasn’t Yaacov’s first port of call. Before that he was an outstanding sportsman in two fields – judo and soccer. “Actually, my own career in judo was overshadowed by that of my brother, who was more successful than I was. I started when I was six because it seemed a really cool sport – people throwing each other over. I started to train regularly, and by the age of 12 I had won the Israeli championship for my age group, and then I won the Israeli champion of champions cup. But when I reached the age of 14 I realized that my brother was better than me, and he was invited to join the Israeli national squad. I decided to quit and find my own niche where I could be the best. That’s why I started to play soccer. I played as a goalkeeper and was accepted by the Bnai Yehuda youth team. I played twice in the winter tournament which was held in Israel at the time. I played against Poland and Romania and I only let in one goal.” Yaacov might well have gone on to a fine career in soccer if it hadn’t been for an injury to his collarbone when he was 17 that put him out of action. “The rehabilitation process was very slow. The accident happened at a crucial stage when you have to apply for ‘outstanding sportsman’ status from the army and I did not make it. Today I’m not really up to form as a soccer player, although I still play in the neighborhood league in Jerusalem.”

 

   

Who am I? David Shapira

Age: 47

Year: 2

 

The facts: David is hardly the typical student. While most students come to the Faculty after the army, David is nearly 50 and his law degree is merely the latest stage in a long academic career. Most of David’s relatives died in the Holocaust, and at the age of 18 he immigrated to Israel from France. He served in the army and studied in yeshiva. At the age of 32 he began to study in the university, and by 40 he completed his doctorate degree. After undertaking postgraduate research in the field of anti-Semitism and working in France as an emissary for two years, he came back to Israel to realize an old dream: studying law at the Hebrew University.

 

   

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Why law? “When you write a study on a historical subject, you need a thorough understanding of the social, economic, psychological, and legal background of the surrounding society or the subject of your research. We have come to see that law plays a dominant role in the historical narrative of peoples. For example, a legal error and failure such as the Dreyfus affair accelerated the process that led Herzl to found the Zionist movement.” David is probably the oldest student in his year class, and this sometimes presents a challenge. “My classmates are not just young people, but very gifted young people,” he explains. “They are quicker than average. That’s a real challenge, but it’s also very refreshing to make friends with them. I am absolutely convinced that this friendship will continue even after we complete our studies.”

 

A second hearing: David was forced to miss several weeks of the second semester for an unusual reason: he stood as a candidate in the French parliamentary elections. “A year ago, French citizens living outside France were allowed for the first time to stand for parliament. The French citizens living in Israel belong to District 8, together with Italy, Turkey, Greece and Cyprus. At first I was the only Israeli candidate and I thought I had some chance of winning. Unfortunately, as time went on, a large number of independents joined the race, splitting the vote. We were unable to unite behind a single candidate, although I declared several times during the campaign that I was willing to withdraw if they decided to support another Israeli candidate. Although I wasn’t elected, I am grateful for this unique opportunity. We established an elections headquarters, website and Facebook page, and we put up posters and toured the grassroots.” What about his studies: “I explained my plans to the lecturers and asked them to take these into account when setting deadlines for papers. They agreed. Now I’m filling in the gaps in my studies, but it isn’t too bad. It’s hard to stop someone who’s determined and motivated to achieve something.”

Supreme Court President (Ret.) Dorit Beinisch Joins the Faculty of Law

Supreme Court President (Ret.) Dorit Beinisch Joins the Faculty of Law

 

Leading figures from all sections of the Israeli legal community attended a conference honoring Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch on the occasion of her retirement * The numerous speakers at the conference represented the full legal spectrum in Israel, including senior academics, former and present judges, and veteran and young attorneys * We offer some impressions of the conference, as well as a special interview with President Beinisch as she joins the Faculty of Law at the Hebrew University   


“Dorit Beinisch is not only a trailblazer: as the first woman jurist to fill the key positions in our legal system, she is also a role model.” Professor Yuval Shany, dean of the Faculty of Law, chose these words to open his comments on the second day of the conference. The conference was hosted jointly by the Faculties of Law of the Hebrew University and Bar Ilan University. Professor Shany was followed by a series of distinguished speakers – former and present Supreme Court justices and other judges, deans of the various faculties and schools of law around Israel, academics, attorneys and prosecutors. The conference was divided into two parts. The first day focused on an analysis of Justice and President Beinisch, while the second was devoted to her public involvement – from her time as a prosecutor and director of the HCJ Petitions Department through the key issues she handled as state attorney and on to her managerial function as president of the Supreme Court. Public service, sensitivity to social concerns, and a practical approach formed a leitmotiv in the lectures on the second day.


Public Service, Social Sensitivity and Quiet Revolutions


The conference day at the Hebrew University included three sessions, all of which were devoted to practical and theoretical studies by academics and legal practitioners in various fields relating to public service and the attorney in the civil service. Space prevents us from providing a summary of all the remarks, so we shall mention just a selected few.


In the first session, Professor Yoav Dotan (previous Dean of the Faculty of Law), Attorney Shai Nitzan and Professor Ariel Bendor discussed the character of the public service attorney. Attorney Shai Nitzan, the deputy attorney general, began his career as the assistant to then State Attorney Dorit Beinisch, and noted the dilemmas that face attorneys in the public service in their contacts with the authorities they represent. “On the internal level,” Attorney Nitzan explained, “their function is first and foremost not to object or raise difficulties, but to provide proper advice for the staff of the authorities.

 

 

  

dorit


Supreme Court President (Ret.) Dorit Beinisch

The activity should be examined within the framework of the law, and if necessary the attorney should try to help and to be creative. Even if a particular issue has not been addressed in court, the fact that there is currently no precedent does not mean that there should not be a precedent. Creativity is a tool that defines the capability of the public sector attorney. But when an attorney or jurist forms the conclusion that a member of the authority seeks to do something that is illegal, he must warn him; and if the act crosses a red line, then it cannot be represented in court.”

 

The moderator of the first session, district court Judge Nava Ben Or, commented in her conclusion: “We can state that the point of departure is that the public service jurist must have a world view. The lack of a world view creates a dangerous individual and a valueless public service.”

 

The second session was entitled “A Judge among Her People.” The speakers in this session discussed Justice Beinisch’s known social sensitivity in the courtroom and in her rulings. One of the speakers was Supreme Court Justice (Retired) Eliezer Rivlin, who also recently joined the Faculty of Law of the Hebrew University. In his remarks, Justice Rivlin mentioned several of President Beinisch’s rulings on social issues. “You can find among Beinisch’s work public rulings that implement the protection of human rights, rulings relating to the right to equality, and rulings concerning all sectors of society and fields of life,” Justice Rivlin explained. “For example, although Beinisch refrained from establishing that the right to education is a constitutional right, she raised the status and importance of this right. Beinisch determined that the decision not to provide full protection for schools suffering missiles attack from Gaza violates the right to education. Parents should not bear the responsibility, she established, for choosing between their children’s safety and their education.”


This session was moderated by Supreme Court Justice (Retired) Yitzhak Zamir (another former Dean of the Faculty of Law). In his introductory comments, Justice Zamir discussed the different streams common in the legal field, between a position that seeks to restrict its function and one that argues that the court should play as active a role as the other branches of government. “There can be no doubt which school Dorit Beinisch belongs to, even when she was still an attorney,” Justice Zamir declared. “She led the Supreme Court toward a positive role in advancing society, and particularly in filling in gaps in the actions of the other branches of government. This requires confrontation and discomfort and demands adhesion to firm values – struggles she withstood successfully. Dorit Beinisch deserves thanks and admiration for this stance.”

 

 

grunis

Supreme Court President Asher Grunis and the Dean, Professor Yuval Shany

 

In the third session of the conference, the speakers focused mainly on President Beinisch’s defense of the judicial branch during periods of considerable tension with the other branches of government. One of the speakers was Judge Moshe Gal, who served as the director of the court during Justice Beinisch’s presidency. Judge Gal mentioned the quiet revolution that was introduced in the management of the judicial system during Beinisch’s period of office.


“The system was unmanageable and exceptional leadership was needed in order to introduce the changes that were made during President Beinisch’s period,” Judge Gal explained. “Even within the judiciary it is sometimes difficult to understand who heads the system – there is no hierarchical structure. How can we manage such a system? In the face of these difficulties, we seek to introduce a managerial doctrine. After discussions with organizational consultants, we reached the conclusion that something had to be done. The proper management of the judiciary demands the conclusion that the presidents of the various courts will be responsible for managing their courts, and will be accountable to the president of the Supreme Court. We created a model of responsibility: The president of the Supreme Court is responsible for the presidents, but also bears responsibility toward the justice minister in the administrative sphere.

 

These moves demanded a change in the organizational culture during a period of instability in the court’s relations with the Knesset and the government. Without President Beinisch’s leadership, we could not have embarked on this revolutionary course of action and inculcated it throughout the judicial system.”

 

The concluding speakers at the conference were Professor Yuval Shany; Judge Einav Golomb, as the representative of President Beinisch’s interns and assistants over her long career; and Supreme Court President Justice Asher Grunis. Last of all, President Beinisch herself went up to the podium. “I don’t think I’m a "warrior," but I do think that jurists recognize the law is not detached from life, and this is how it should be regarded. The ability to combine theory and practice is critical and essential for anyone who wants to be involved in law.”

 
**

   

 

ys

Dean of Faculty, Professor Yuval Shany


From Judge to Lecturer

Just a few days after the conference, President Beinisch agreed to let us interview her as she joins our Faculty. President Beinisch is due to teach a joint course next year with Professor Barak Medina on the subject of national security and human rights.


In his opening comments at the conference, Faculty Dean Professor Shany commented on the new addition to the Faculty: “We are delighted that following her retirement President Beinisch has agreed to continue to make a contribution as a lecturer in law, and has chosen to return to the Hebrew University. By so doing, she is closing a circle – making a contribution to academia, in the faculty where she began her career, and addressing the subject of human rights, to which she has been committed in all her public positions.”


In the interview, however, President Beinisch was reluctant to see her decision as a “transition to academia.” She explained: “That’s a bit of an exaggeration. This isn’t a stage in my life when I’ve decided to launch an academic career. I strongly believe that academic analysis in law also has practical purpose and application. This apparent ‘transition’ is simply part of the overall mission.”

 

So you don’t see these as two separate worlds?
“I don’t see academia as an opposing pole to the court, but as an integral part of the desire to ‘make law.’ Academic research and judicial work are both directly involved in implementing our values as a society so that we can protect it. Academia should not be disconnected from judicial work, and judicial work – and I refer here not only to judges, but also to attorneys in the private and public sectors – is not disconnected from the academic contribution.”

 

Does that mean that as someone who brings that practical experience you can make a particular contribution to academic teaching?


“On the basis of my personal experience, I think that when people begin to study law they know very little about legal work. People are attracted to the profession for all kinds of reasons, both ideological and practical, but they are often unaware of the daily and long-term ramifications of legal work. Accordingly, I think that a good legal education, one that will enable the students to choose the right way for themselves in our complex and diverse profession, requires a synthesis of experience and legal knowledge, of theory and practice. 

   

zamir

Supreme Court Justice (Ret.) Yitzhak Zamir

 

I certainly believe that the period of studies offers students a golden opportunity to use the legal knowledge they acquire – and this contribution naturally helps them and moves them forward, too. I don’t think this is a matter of lip service at all.”

 

When was the idea for the course born?

“You could say that this course was born following a conversation between the Dean, Professor Yuval Shany, and myself. I told him about a similar course I taught for a semester in the Faculty of Law at New York University, and he rightly asked why we won't have something similar here.”

 

What is your goal in the course?

“My goal is to encourage substantive discussion relating to the subject of national security and human rights. This is why we chose not to end the course with an examination, but to base it on project work and oral discussion focusing on court rulings here in Israel and elsewhere.”


Is such discussion also an important tool in later stages?

“Dialogue between the court and the parties who come before it – both the State Attorney’s Office and the petitioners – and the dialogue the court can encourage between the parties form an important component of judicial work. One of the most important steps we can take in this direction, I believe, is to encourage the State Attorney’s Office to adopt a more flexible attitude. I think this is one of the reasons why so many petitions submitted to the High Court of Justice are rejected or end without the need for a ruling. When the appellant raises a substantive and just argument, the State Attorney’s Office should solve the case even before it reaches the point of a court hearing. If the case does come before the court, then dialogue between the court and both sides can produce an awareness that the petitioner’s argument is well-grounded and should be examined – even by the representative of the State Attorney’s Office. In this case, the public attorney is not a litigant before the court, but rather – together with the court – represents the public interest.”

Do you expect the students who take the course to choose a career as judges?
“As I mentioned, when most students begin their legal education they don’t necessarily know which avenue is best for them. Indeed, many of them have still not made this decision by the time they complete their internship, and have to examine several different directions before they choose their career. So I want to be careful about this. I certainly don’t think that the purpose of the course is to push students toward a career as judges or anything like that, but I will be very happy if it encourages them to have a sense of public mission and clarifies the importance of this side of the legal profession. For me, of course, this implies working for the State, but attorneys in the third sector or private attorneys who find ways to advance the public interest are also realizing the same mission. 

   

shay

Attorney Shai Nitzan

 

I believe that law can and must make a contribution to society; after all, this is a profession that belongs to the social sciences. It draws from society and maintains a constant process of feedback with it: law is influenced by and influences society.”


What is your impression of the young generation in the legal profession?
“Over the years I have always worked with young people. I like to do so because it provides an opportunity to convey my social message and to encourage recognition of reality. We always build positive dialogue. There is a truly outstanding young generation of inquisitive individuals with amazing intellectual capabilities. Sometimes it seems to me that today’s generation is more mature when it begins law studies than our own generation. This reflects the development of legal education and education in general and is one of the hallmarks of our times. Rather than the traditional saying “I have learned from all my teachers,” it often feels that we cooperate: we senior jurists give our knowledge and experience to the new arrivals, and they give us fresh ways of looking at things. This, too, is another form of dialogue.”

Supreme Court President (Ret.) Dorit Beinisch Joins the Faculty of Law

 

Leading figures from all sections of the Israeli legal community attended a conference honoring Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch on the occasion of her retirement * The numerous speakers at the conference represented the full legal spectrum in Israel, including senior academics, former and present judges, and veteran and young attorneys * We offer some impressions of the conference, as well as a special interview with President Beinisch as she joins the Faculty of Law at the Hebrew University   


“Dorit Beinisch is not only a trailblazer: as the first woman jurist to fill the key positions in our legal system, she is also a role model.” Professor Yuval Shany, dean of the Faculty of Law, chose these words to open his comments on the second day of the conference. The conference was hosted jointly by the Faculties of Law of the Hebrew University and Bar Ilan University. Professor Shany was followed by a series of distinguished speakers – former and present Supreme Court justices and other judges, deans of the various faculties and schools of law around Israel, academics, attorneys and prosecutors. The conference was divided into two parts. The first day focused on an analysis of Justice and President Beinisch, while the second was devoted to her public involvement – from her time as a prosecutor and director of the HCJ Petitions Department through the key issues she handled as state attorney and on to her managerial function as president of the Supreme Court. Public service, sensitivity to social concerns, and a practical approach formed a leitmotiv in the lectures on the second day.


Public Service, Social Sensitivity and Quiet Revolutions


The conference day at the Hebrew University included three sessions, all of which were devoted to practical and theoretical studies by academics and legal practitioners in various fields relating to public service and the attorney in the civil service. Space prevents us from providing a summary of all the remarks, so we shall mention just a selected few.


In the first session, Professor Yoav Dotan (previous Dean of the Faculty of Law), Attorney Shai Nitzan and Professor Ariel Bendor discussed the character of the public service attorney. Attorney Shai Nitzan, the deputy attorney general, began his career as the assistant to then State Attorney Dorit Beinisch, and noted the dilemmas that face attorneys in the public service in their contacts with the authorities they represent. “On the internal level,” Attorney Nitzan explained, “their function is first and foremost not to object or raise difficulties, but to provide proper advice for the staff of the authorities.

 

 

  


Supreme Court President (Ret.) Dorit Beinisch

The activity should be examined within the framework of the law, and if necessary the attorney should try to help and to be creative. Even if a particular issue has not been addressed in court, the fact that there is currently no precedent does not mean that there should not be a precedent. Creativity is a tool that defines the capability of the public sector attorney. But when an attorney or jurist forms the conclusion that a member of the authority seeks to do something that is illegal, he must warn him; and if the act crosses a red line, then it cannot be represented in court.”

 

The moderator of the first session, district court Judge Nava Ben Or, commented in her conclusion: “We can state that the point of departure is that the public service jurist must have a world view. The lack of a world view creates a dangerous individual and a valueless public service.”

 

The second session was entitled “A Judge among Her People.” The speakers in this session discussed Justice Beinisch’s known social sensitivity in the courtroom and in her rulings. One of the speakers was Supreme Court Justice (Retired) Eliezer Rivlin, who also recently joined the Faculty of Law of the Hebrew University. In his remarks, Justice Rivlin mentioned several of President Beinisch’s rulings on social issues. “You can find among Beinisch’s work public rulings that implement the protection of human rights, rulings relating to the right to equality, and rulings concerning all sectors of society and fields of life,” Justice Rivlin explained. “For example, although Beinisch refrained from establishing that the right to education is a constitutional right, she raised the status and importance of this right. Beinisch determined that the decision not to provide full protection for schools suffering missiles attack from Gaza violates the right to education. Parents should not bear the responsibility, she established, for choosing between their children’s safety and their education.”


This session was moderated by Supreme Court Justice (Retired) Yitzhak Zamir (another former Dean of the Faculty of Law). In his introductory comments, Justice Zamir discussed the different streams common in the legal field, between a position that seeks to restrict its function and one that argues that the court should play as active a role as the other branches of government. “There can be no doubt which school Dorit Beinisch belongs to, even when she was still an attorney,” Justice Zamir declared. “She led the Supreme Court toward a positive role in advancing society, and particularly in filling in gaps in the actions of the other branches of government. This requires confrontation and discomfort and demands adhesion to firm values – struggles she withstood successfully. Dorit Beinisch deserves thanks and admiration for this stance.”

 

 

Supreme Court President Asher Grunis and the Dean, Professor Yuval Shany

 

In the third session of the conference, the speakers focused mainly on President Beinisch’s defense of the judicial branch during periods of considerable tension with the other branches of government. One of the speakers was Judge Moshe Gal, who served as the director of the court during Justice Beinisch’s presidency. Judge Gal mentioned the quiet revolution that was introduced in the management of the judicial system during Beinisch’s period of office.


“The system was unmanageable and exceptional leadership was needed in order to introduce the changes that were made during President Beinisch’s period,” Judge Gal explained. “Even within the judiciary it is sometimes difficult to understand who heads the system – there is no hierarchical structure. How can we manage such a system? In the face of these difficulties, we seek to introduce a managerial doctrine. After discussions with organizational consultants, we reached the conclusion that something had to be done. The proper management of the judiciary demands the conclusion that the presidents of the various courts will be responsible for managing their courts, and will be accountable to the president of the Supreme Court. We created a model of responsibility: The president of the Supreme Court is responsible for the presidents, but also bears responsibility toward the justice minister in the administrative sphere.

 

These moves demanded a change in the organizational culture during a period of instability in the court’s relations with the Knesset and the government. Without President Beinisch’s leadership, we could not have embarked on this revolutionary course of action and inculcated it throughout the judicial system.”

 

The concluding speakers at the conference were Professor Yuval Shany; Judge Einav Golomb, as the representative of President Beinisch’s interns and assistants over her long career; and Supreme Court President Justice Asher Grunis. Last of all, President Beinisch herself went up to the podium. “I don’t think I’m a "warrior," but I do think that jurists recognize the law is not detached from life, and this is how it should be regarded. The ability to combine theory and practice is critical and essential for anyone who wants to be involved in law.”

 
**

   

 

Dean of Faculty, Professor Yuval Shany


From Judge to Lecturer

Just a few days after the conference, President Beinisch agreed to let us interview her as she joins our Faculty. President Beinisch is due to teach a joint course next year with Professor Barak Medina on the subject of national security and human rights.


In his opening comments at the conference, Faculty Dean Professor Shany commented on the new addition to the Faculty: “We are delighted that following her retirement President Beinisch has agreed to continue to make a contribution as a lecturer in law, and has chosen to return to the Hebrew University. By so doing, she is closing a circle – making a contribution to academia, in the faculty where she began her career, and addressing the subject of human rights, to which she has been committed in all her public positions.”


In the interview, however, President Beinisch was reluctant to see her decision as a “transition to academia.” She explained: “That’s a bit of an exaggeration. This isn’t a stage in my life when I’ve decided to launch an academic career. I strongly believe that academic analysis in law also has practical purpose and application. This apparent ‘transition’ is simply part of the overall mission.”

 

So you don’t see these as two separate worlds?
“I don’t see academia as an opposing pole to the court, but as an integral part of the desire to ‘make law.’ Academic research and judicial work are both directly involved in implementing our values as a society so that we can protect it. Academia should not be disconnected from judicial work, and judicial work – and I refer here not only to judges, but also to attorneys in the private and public sectors – is not disconnected from the academic contribution.”

 

Does that mean that as someone who brings that practical experience you can make a particular contribution to academic teaching?


“On the basis of my personal experience, I think that when people begin to study law they know very little about legal work. People are attracted to the profession for all kinds of reasons, both ideological and practical, but they are often unaware of the daily and long-term ramifications of legal work. Accordingly, I think that a good legal education, one that will enable the students to choose the right way for themselves in our complex and diverse profession, requires a synthesis of experience and legal knowledge, of theory and practice. 

   

Supreme Court Justice (Ret.) Yitzhak Zamir

 

I certainly believe that the period of studies offers students a golden opportunity to use the legal knowledge they acquire – and this contribution naturally helps them and moves them forward, too. I don’t think this is a matter of lip service at all.”

 

When was the idea for the course born?

“You could say that this course was born following a conversation between the Dean, Professor Yuval Shany, and myself. I told him about a similar course I taught for a semester in the Faculty of Law at New York University, and he rightly asked why we won't have something similar here.”

 

What is your goal in the course?

“My goal is to encourage substantive discussion relating to the subject of national security and human rights. This is why we chose not to end the course with an examination, but to base it on project work and oral discussion focusing on court rulings here in Israel and elsewhere.”


Is such discussion also an important tool in later stages?

“Dialogue between the court and the parties who come before it – both the State Attorney’s Office and the petitioners – and the dialogue the court can encourage between the parties form an important component of judicial work. One of the most important steps we can take in this direction, I believe, is to encourage the State Attorney’s Office to adopt a more flexible attitude. I think this is one of the reasons why so many petitions submitted to the High Court of Justice are rejected or end without the need for a ruling. When the appellant raises a substantive and just argument, the State Attorney’s Office should solve the case even before it reaches the point of a court hearing. If the case does come before the court, then dialogue between the court and both sides can produce an awareness that the petitioner’s argument is well-grounded and should be examined – even by the representative of the State Attorney’s Office. In this case, the public attorney is not a litigant before the court, but rather – together with the court – represents the public interest.”

Do you expect the students who take the course to choose a career as judges?
“As I mentioned, when most students begin their legal education they don’t necessarily know which avenue is best for them. Indeed, many of them have still not made this decision by the time they complete their internship, and have to examine several different directions before they choose their career. So I want to be careful about this. I certainly don’t think that the purpose of the course is to push students toward a career as judges or anything like that, but I will be very happy if it encourages them to have a sense of public mission and clarifies the importance of this side of the legal profession. For me, of course, this implies working for the State, but attorneys in the third sector or private attorneys who find ways to advance the public interest are also realizing the same mission. 

   

Attorney Shai Nitzan

 

I believe that law can and must make a contribution to society; after all, this is a profession that belongs to the social sciences. It draws from society and maintains a constant process of feedback with it: law is influenced by and influences society.”


What is your impression of the young generation in the legal profession?
“Over the years I have always worked with young people. I like to do so because it provides an opportunity to convey my social message and to encourage recognition of reality. We always build positive dialogue. There is a truly outstanding young generation of inquisitive individuals with amazing intellectual capabilities. Sometimes it seems to me that today’s generation is more mature when it begins law studies than our own generation. This reflects the development of legal education and education in general and is one of the hallmarks of our times. Rather than the traditional saying “I have learned from all my teachers,” it often feels that we cooperate: we senior jurists give our knowledge and experience to the new arrivals, and they give us fresh ways of looking at things. This, too, is another form of dialogue.”

The Sacher Institute for Legislative Research and Comparative Law: The Faculty’s Platform for Academic Publications

The Sacher Institute for Legislative Research and Comparative Law: The Faculty’s Platform for Academic Publications

 

The Sacher Institute, which is based at the Faculty of Law of the Hebrew University, is the largest and oldest publisher of academic legal works in Israel * Professor David Glicksberg, the head of the Institute, tells us about some upcoming publications and discusses the challenges facing the Institute

  


The Faculty of Law at the Hebrew University is recognized as the leading academic institution in Israel in its field. It has earned this status by right, thanks to its outstanding scholars and academics who continue to stand at the vanguard of legal thought. However, scholars can only disseminate their findings if they have access to a suitable platform for publishing their work. The Sacher Institute for Legislative Research and Comparative Law, which serves as the Faculty’s publishing house, was established with the support of the Sacher family to meet this need.

 

“The Institute was established several decades ago,” explains Professor David Glicksberg, who serves as its head. “It has several functions, but the principal one is to publish academic literature in the legal field. We are the most important publisher in Israel in this field, and virtually the only publisher of high-quality academic texts. Today, our books are published in cooperation with Nevo publishers. A large number of books are published every year, and many other manuscripts are rejected. The Institute is also responsible for publishing two journals: The Hebrew University Law Review (Mishpatim) and the Journal on Legislation (Hukim).”

 

 

Do you focus on any particular area?

“No, as a matter of policy we adopt the opposite approach and publish works ranging across the entire legal field, without any exceptions. We also publish interdisciplinary texts and literature in the field of criminology, since the Institute of Criminology is an integral part of the Faculty of Law. To date, we have published many hundreds of books and journals. There is no academic legal publisher in Israel that can compete with the Sacher Institute in terms of quality or quantity.”


Who are the authors of these works?
“The authors are not only lecturers at the Faculty of Law in Jerusalem. Many lectures from all the Israeli universities and colleges also contact us. For example, we are currently working on a book on tort law written by Professor Ariel Porat of Tel Aviv University. This book will join another work in the same field written by Professor Israel Gilad of the Jerusalem Faculty which we published recently.”



 

 

glick2

Professor David Glicksberg

What process does a manuscript undergo before it emerges as an Institute publication?
“As head of the Institute, I am responsible for the initial screening of manuscripts sent to us by authors. Every manuscript is sent to two or three external readers, who express their opinion as to whether it is worthy of publication by the Institute. If the decision is positive, they may also suggest changes that should be made to the manuscript. We receive these opinions and forward them to the authors. In most cases the authors are grateful for the input and improve the manuscript on the basis of these comments.”

 

What do you look for in your preliminary screening?
“It’s important to understand that our standards for publication are very high. The authors are aware of this. In addition, we do not usually accept manuscripts with a purely practical focus: we are interested in books that include a strong academic foundation. This is not enough in itself, however. We also want to make sure that the book shows strong academic quality from start to finish. These considerations influence the criteria we use in examining manuscripts. Since the legal community is well aware of our high demands, we do not usually receive poor-quality manuscripts. The Institute’s literary genres include monographs and collections of articles. These may be initiated by the editors themselves or by the Institute. In the collections, too, we are committed to the highest academic standards.”

 

This sounds like a protracted process. Doesn’t it create all kinds of problems?
“We do our best to make the process as short as possible, and it is usually completed within a few months. Our agreement with Nevo means that the technical production stages are completed very quickly. The books are published at a high standard of finishing in technical and visual terms. Our cooperation with Nevo results in products that can stand their own against the publications of any similar institution. Delays are usually caused when the authors have to respond to comments, make changes, proofread the draft and add indexes and so forth. Sometimes we have a problem finding referees with expertise in the area covered by the book who can offer their opinion on the manuscript. Again, we try to work efficiently without compromising the quality of the opinions. By the way, this is a great opportunity to thank all the referees who perform their task with such devotion.”


**


Professor David Glicksberg, one of the leading experts on taxation in the State of Israel, was appointed head of the Institute in 2012. Previous occupants of this position include some prominent names in the Israeli legal world. The first head of the Institute was Dr. Uri Yadin, and subsequent heads included Yitzhak Zamir, Yitzhak Englard, Gabriela Shalev, Celia Wasserstein-Fassberg, Miri Gur-Aryeh, Shimon Shetreet, Michael Karayanni, and many others. The Institute’s board includes Dr. Benny Porat and Professor Shimon Shetreet, in addition to Professor Glicksberg.


Does the Institute focus exclusively on publishing books?
“No. We are the publishers of the Hebrew University Law Review and the Journal on Legislation. We also organize seminars and conferences, and we publish the Jerusalem Review of Legal Studies in cooperation with Oxford University Press. We also provide an annual post-doctorate scholarship to help encourage the young generation of scholars.”


What challenges are you facing today?
“One of the main problems we are examining is the impact of globalization on our publications. Today, the Israeli legal community shows a strong preference to publish its works in languages other than Hebrew and on foreign platforms. This also affects the willingness of the academic community to contribute articles to books other than monographs, such as collections of articles. The editors and the Institute apply intensive pressure to convince members of the community to write books in Hebrew intended for the domestic market.”


Isn’t globalization also affecting you?
“As I mentioned, globalization has had a strong impact in terms of the willingness of scholars to write in Hebrew. I am currently working on a cooperative arrangement with a very large European publisher in order to enable the publication of works in English. One of the ways journals are coping with the process of globalization is to produce single-theme issues based on a seminar. For example, the Hebrew University Law Review held a seminar last June featuring empirical and behavioristic studies.”


What are you working on just now?
“We are very busy publishing a wide variety of books. I already mentioned the book by Professor Ariel Porat of Tel Aviv University. We are also about to publish a particularly comprehensive study in the field of private international law written by Professor Celia Fassberg. The list is very long. We are working on several collections of articles. The Institute also recently initiated a memorial publication honoring the late Justice Elon, deputy president of the Supreme Court, who passed away a few months ago.”

Vol. 15

 
 
headerBFengVol. 15 November 2013

 

 

ruta

 

 
Attorney Ruta Oren Receives the First Faculty of Law Award

The Faculty of Law recently held the first-ever event honoring one of the most prominent figures in the Israeli legal community – Attorney Ruta Oren of S. Horowitz & Co. * The event was attended by many of the leading lights of the Israeli legal world in a special fundraising dinner for the Faculty * Several leading jurists spoke at the event in honor of the recipient of the award 
Read More...

fulbright

  
Three Graduates of the Faculty of Law’s Research Fellows Program Win Fulbright Scholarships

The Faculty of Law’s investment in students for advanced degrees and research fellows has again proved worthwhile. For the first time, all three recipients of the prestigious Fulbright Program scholarships for 2013 are graduates of our research fellows program (and by the way – all three are women!)

Read More...

minervae

  
The Minerva Center for Human Rights: Internalizing International Law in Israel

The Minerva Center for Human Rights at the Hebrew University has initiated numerous academic projects and strives to enhance the students’ understanding of human rights issues * We decided to focus on one of the Center’s programs that aims to enhance the internalization of international human rights laws in Israel * The program, funded by the European Union, includes tri-partite encounters between government, civil society and academia, as well as a research group and the preparation of research resources for human rights law

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taharut

  
Competitions and Emissaries – The Second Article in Our Series

Every year the Faculty sends students to represent the university and Israel in international competitions * In our last issue we looked at the Jessup and ICC Moot Court Competitions * This time, we would like to introduce you to the Red Cross International Humanitarian Law Moot and the Copenhagen International Negotiation Competition

Read More...

llm

 
The LL.M. Program at the Faculty of Law: Reaching out to Students from around the World

The Faculty of Law’s English-language master’s degree program (LL.M.) offers law students from various fields an opportunity to study in Jerusalem’s unique atmosphere * The students come from around the world and study in advanced tracks specializing in human rights or international commercial law

Read More...
 
madorEng
mador1_eng

Short meetings with faculty students
Read More...

 

 


infield

A First in Israel – A Book on Private International Law

After an extensive period of research, Faculty member Professor Celia Fassberg is about to publish a book on Private International Law * This is the first comprehensive work on the subject published in Hebrew * We spoke to Professor Fassberg, who told us about the book, the writing process, and her fascination with Private International Law
Read More...

 
 
 

Editor: Ronen Polliack
Editorial board: Michal Totchami, Zohar Drookman

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Faculty of Law - All Rights Reserved

Three Graduates of the Faculty of Law’s Research Fellows Program Win Fulbright Scholarships

Three Graduates of the Faculty of Law’s Research Fellows Program Win Fulbright Scholarships

 

The Faculty of Law’s investment in students for advanced degrees and research fellows has again proved worthwhile. For the first time, all three recipients of the prestigious Fulbright Program scholarships for 2013 are graduates of our research fellows program (and by the way – all three are women!)


The Fulbright Program was established in the United States in 1948 and offers scholarships in two tracks – a track for American citizens and a track for outstanding non-American academics interested in studying in the United States. In Israel the program is operated through the United States – Israel Educational Foundation (USIEF). Prominent jurists who have enjoyed the program’s support include retired Supreme Court President Aharon Barak and former Justice Minister Professor Daniel Friedman. Our own faculty also includes many former recipients of the scholarship, including Professors Eyal Zamir, Daphna Lewinsohn-Zamir, Assaf Hamdani, and David Enoch. Three graduates of the Faculty’s research fellows program are now joining this distinguished list: Dr. Tammy Harel Ben-Shahar, Sivan Shlomo-Agon, and Dr. Sharon Shakargy. 


 
Outstanding Researchers
Although all three scholarship recipients are young researchers from the Faculty of the Law, they have different fields of interest and have followed diverse academic paths. Sharon Shakargy, whose doctorate thesis was submitted and approved last year, has been a student in the Faculty since 2001, when she began studying law together with the Amirim program in the humanities. She went on to pursue her master’s degree in the Faculty under the supervision of Professor Michael Karayanni, focusing on the field of private international law. Her doctorate thesis, written under the supervision of Professor Celia Fassberg, discussed the choice of law rules for marriage and divorce.
 
“During my doctorate studies I was a member of the Faculty’s Research Fellows program and the Private Law Forum,” Shakargy relates. “In the field of of private international law, there is no better place to be – certainly in Israel – than the Hebrew University. Furthermore, on the basis of my own experience I can say that one of the most important requirements for research in the field of private international law is a good library with a large selection of comparative works. Through I was very much impressed by the library at Harvard University, where I have spent a year researching for my doctorate, but our library in Jerusalem is nothing to be ashamed of.”
 
Another recipient is Tammy Harel Ben-Shahar, who completed her doctorate thesis in the Faculty last April under the supervision of Professor Barak Medina and Professor David Enoch. Harel Ben-Shahar has served for the past two years as an academic instructor at the Faculty’s Clinic for the Rights of People with Disabilities, and for the past year she has also been an instructor in the Public Law Workshop. “My research is advancing a philosophical argument concerning the principle of due distributive justice in the field of education. I am examining how questions of distributive justice in education are manifested in law,” she explains.
 
The final member of the successful trio is Sivan Shlomo-Agon, who joined the Faculty after serving for seven years as an officer in the International Law Department of the Judge Advocate General’s Office. “The Faculty of Law at the Hebrew University,” she explains, “is a hothouse for researchers in the field of international law, both in Israel and around the world. So it was the natural place for me to undertake my doctorate studies.” Shlomo-Agon’s thesis on the effectiveness of the conflict resolution system in the World Trade Organization was written under the supervision of Faculty Dean Professor Yuval Shany and Deputy Dean Professor Tomer Broude.
 
The young researchers have been active in diverse fields in Israel and elsewhere. For example, Shakargy has established the Family Law Forum. “I felt that there was a need for greater discourse on family law,” she recalls. “The forum brings together researchers in family law from all the academic institutions in Israel, as well as several family researchers from fields other than law.” Shlomo-Agon was a member of a research project led by Faculty Dean Professor Yuval Shany focusing on the effectiveness of international tribunals, funded by the European Union’s Research Council (the ERC). For two years she trained the Faculty’s team in the international Jessup moot court competition. During her doctorate studies, Shlomo-Agon interned in the World Trade Organization, the subject of her thesis, and was later invited to visit the WTO as a guest researcher. The scholarship recipients have also been active as class instructors, imparting knowledge to the next generation of researchers. For example, Shakargy relates: “Last year I taught the Introduction to Israeli Law course as part of the Faculty’s international program. It was an interesting and unusual experience, both in terms of the subject matter and due to the need to ‘translate’ the Israeli system for students from diverse legal systems and different approaches to teaching and learning.”
 
The Fulbright recipients’ research proposals are also fairly diverse. Sharon Shakargy, who is already at the University of Michigan, will be focusing on the legal regulation of spousal relationship which are not traditional marriages, under the supervision of Professor Mathias Reimann. “One of the components in my thesis concerns the devaluation of the status of marriage – what is commonly referred to as the transition of marriage from status to contract. After several years’ intensive work in the field of the transnational regulation of marriage, I came to understand that there is no longer any reason to differentiate between marriage and other spousal relationships, at least in terms of the rights between the partners themselves. Accordingly, I find it strange that there is no arrangement – that is to say, no choice of law rules – for such relationships. As I started reading about the subject, I found that when an arrangement has been proposed in particular instances it has been unsystematic and imprecise.”
 
Ben-Shahar and Shalom-Agon have both traveled to New York University for their post-doctorate studies, although they are attending different programs. Ben-Shahar is a member of the Tikva program, which seeks to promote research drawing on Hebrew law and related fields. “In the program I am continuing to research the subject of distributive justice and the way it is implemented in law. One study is examining religious schools and the tension created between religious and cultural values and distributive justice. Another study I will be involved in will focus on the demand for equality regarding goods characterized by competitiveness in consumption.” Shlomo-Agon has been appointed an Emile No? l fellow in the Jean Monnet Center. In this framework she will participate in a project that aims to examine the legal discourse between international courts and diverse audiences – in addition to states – with the goal of consolidating and maintaining the courts’ legitimacy as part of global governance.
 

From the Faculty to Fulbright
The scholarship recipients are heading off to pursue academic research in different universities and cities in the United States. They were selected after a strict procedure implemented by the program, including submission of a research plan, written recommendations, and a personal interview. This type of screening process can naturally cause considerable stress, but the replies came quickly and – to the three women’s great satisfaction – they were positive.
 
The Faculty made a significant contribution to the admissions procedure. “The Faculty as a body, as well as specific members of it, have made an important contribution to my development as a jurist,” Shakargy explains. “My academic achievements are certainly closely related to my studies at the Faculty, and particularly to what I have learned from Professor Fassberg. Many Faculty members, both faculty members and he administrative staff members, went out of their way to make the process as smooth as possible.” Shlomo-Agon describes a similar experience: “My doctorate supervisors were full partners not only throughout my doctorate studies, but also as I prepared for the post-doctorate stage. I can hardly imagine how I could have enjoyed such a fascinating process over the past few years, and secured the achievements I have managed to reach, without this generous help.”  
 
The support of the Faculty of Law does not end when the researchers receive the scholarship and are admitted to the program. The Faculty team continues to offer assistance as the recipients move on. “Yaffa, the doctorate students coordinator, helped me greatly with the administrative aspects of applying for the scholarship. She crossed her fingers together with me and shared in my joy when the good news came,” recall both Ben-Shahar and Shlomo-Agon. “In general, the wonderful community of doctorate students at the Faculty helped a lot at every stage, both socially and professionally. It’s great to have colleagues you can exchange information with and ask for advice.” Shakargy sums up: “The Faculty’s investment in the research fellows program has paid off, at least as I see it. During my time in the program it has provided a real support group. The friendships and collegial relationships developed amongst the fellows were of much help. Fellows generously and willingly shared information even with regards to competitive programs.” Ben-Shahar adds: “The program created an interesting and challenging framework, one aspect of which was practical information about career planning, post-doctorate studies and so forth.”
 
In the future the young researchers plan to return to Israel. Harel Ben-Shahar has already secured a place as a member of the Faculty of Law at Haifa University and expects to being teaching work on her return. Shakargy and Shlomo-Agon also plan to find their place in the Israeli academic community after completing their research in the United States and hope to be accepted in the leading law faculties in Israel.

 

 

fulbrightphoto

From left  - Dr. Sharon Shakargy, Sivan Shlomo-Agon and Dr. Tammy Harel Ben-Shahar

Attorney Ruta Oren Receives the First Faculty of Law Award

Attorney Ruta Oren Receives the First Faculty of Law Award

 

The Faculty of Law recently held the first-ever event honoring one of the most prominent figures in the Israeli legal community – Attorney Ruta Oren of S. Horowitz & Co. * The event was attended by many of the leading lights of the Israeli legal world in a special fundraising dinner for the Faculty * Several leading jurists spoke at the event in honor of the recipient of the award

 

In the luxurious conference center at Dan Panorama Hotel in Tel Aviv, round tables had been arranged around a long central table of honor, awaiting the arrival of the guests, many of them prominent figures in the Israeli legal community. The purpose of the gathering was to celebrate the launching of a new tradition: an award marking the achievements of graduates of the Hebrew University’s Faculty of Law. The recipient of the first award is Attorney Ruta Oren. As often happens at such events, the desire to share in the recipient’s happy occasion was combined with an event that became a “must” for all the leading lights in the legal world.

 

Slowly at first, and then in a veritable flood, the room began to fill with senior partners and founders from many of the leading law firms in Israel, along with former judges and senior members of the Law Faculty. The guests included senior partners from S. Horowitz, Agmon, Herzog Fox & Neeman, and other firms, including former Justice Minister Yaacov Neeman and Supreme Court President (Ret.) Aharon Barak.

 

In addition to marking Attorney Oren’s work, the evening also served as a fundraising event for the Faculty’s doctorate students. The program included an appearance by the Israeli conductor Gil Shohat and the international opera singer Ira Bertman, as well as a lecture by Dr. Yuval Noah Harari of the History Department at the Hebrew University, who offered some thoughts about the future development of humanity.

 

“In order to train our students,” the Dean of the Faculty, Yuval Shany, explained, “we need outstanding academics who can teach them to engage in legal research. The curriculum we offer today for advanced degrees can withstand comparison to our sister institutions in Europe and around the world.

 

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Attorney David Tadmor of Tadmor & Co., chairperson of the organizing committee for the evening

 

Our program has been very successful and we have absorbed research and post-doctorate students who began their studied in the Faculty and have now returned to us. The funds raised at the evening help these programs, and therefore also help the legal community and the numerous other communities that rely on its assistance.”

 

Attorney David Tadmor of Tadmor & Co., who served as chairperson of the organizing committee for the evening, explained the idea behind the gala event: “I spent several years in the United States, where I first encountered the idea of the ‘legal dinner,’ which combines an award to a respected member of the local legal community with fundraising for important goals. And our own goal is, of course, pretty important: to help our research students. We decided to inaugurate a new tradition that encourages Faculty graduates to donate to its institutions, and there could be no worthier candidate than Ruta Oren as the first recipient of the award.”

 

 

A modest and honest jurist

 

Ruta Oren is hardly a household name in Israel and she is not in the habit of giving interviews to the media. As Tadmor noted, “Israel has changed and the world has changed, but Ruta is still the same Ruta.” In the legal community, and particularly in the field of commercial litigation, Ruta is widely seen as a model figure, as reflected in the impressive line of speakers who asked to add their own comments in her praise.

Oren had not always intended to enter the field of law. Her main dream was to become a member of a kibbutz. She began to study agriculture, but following the United Nations vote on the Partition Plan on November 29, 1947, she abandoned her studies and volunteered as a signal operator in the Palmach.

 

  

 ruta1

The Dean of the Faculty, Professor Yuval Shany, Attorney Ruta Oren and Supreme Court Justice (Ret.) Aharon Barak

 

In 1953 she began to study law at the Hebrew University, and in 1958 she took on a post as an intern in the firm in which she would later become a senior partner – S. Horowitz.

 

Oren took an unusual course in the legal profession, concentrating on commercial legal consultation rather than litigation. Attorney Alex Hertman, one of her colleagues in the firm, recalls: “The clients were immediately enchanted by her warm, energetic spirit and by her thirst to learn and understand any new field she encountered.” In 1977, Oren became a partner in the firm.

 

Oren is now completing some five decades of work that have included involvement in the largest transactions in the Israeli economy. “Her modesty, honesty and integrity are well known,” Hertman comments. Professor Amnon Rubinstein recalled that “in the middle of one of the major corruption scandals in the Israeli economy, Ruta commented to me, ‘I don’t understand one thing – is it so hard to be honest?’ My answer was ‘Yes, it is hard – but not for you, Ruta.’”

 

Hertman added: “The admiration for her transcends boundaries. On more than one occasion she has found herself leading transactions that have no connection to Israel. Attorneys from all the countries involved let her lead the process and are full of admiration for her approach. She has a reputation as an attorney that helps close deals rather than leading to an explosion. She makes a real effort to understand not only her clients’ interests, but also those of the other side.”

 

 

“I owe a debt of thanks to the profession”

 

At last, the guest of honor took to the podium, excited and somewhat embarrassed, to receive the award from retired Supreme Court Justice Aharon Barak and Dean Shany. “You promised me that I wouldn’t have to make a speech,” she reminded the dean, who replied with a smile: “I didn’t promise to keep my promise.” Oren confessed that “the remarks tonight by the distinguished speakers have solved a riddle. At last I’ve understood why on earth they insisted on giving me this award.”

 

In a short, modest speech, Oren mentioned her early days in the legal profession. “I didn’t know what to expect,” she explained.

 

 

ruta

Attorney Ruta Oren of S. Horowitz & Co.

“Suddenly I discovered an entire world out there. As I started to take my first steps in the world of law, I realized that my assumption during my studies that various subjects were irrelevant had been mistaken. I owe a debt of thanks to the Faculty for teaching me basic principles that you cannot learn anywhere else. The absence of these principles is evident in any jurist, and this gap can only be filled by academic studies.”

 

Oren continued: “The world of law has given me more than I have given back. Thanks to my profession I have met businesspeople, scientists, people in diverse positions and, of course, attorneys. These acquaintances have enriched me both personally and professionally. I’m glad to say that I have made many friends, and many of them have come here this evening.”

 

Concluding her speech, Oren commented: “I have been lucky enough to live a life doing something that interest me and that I like. I owe a debt of thanks to the profession.”

 

Additional pictures taken at the event are available here.

Competitions and Emissaries – The Second Article in Our Series

Competitions and Emissaries – The Second Article in Our Series

 

Every year the Faculty sends students to represent the university and Israel in international competitions * In our last issue we looked at the Jessup and ICC Moot Court Competitions * This time, we would like to introduce you to the Red Cross International Humanitarian Law Moot and the Copenhagen International Negotiation Competition

 

“Traditional frontal teaching in classes and lectures can achieve a lot, but other teaching methods are also valuable, particularly in the field of law.” This balanced appraisal is offered by Professor Tomer Broude, an expert in international law. “The advantage of international competitions, like the legal clinics,” he continues, “is that they give the students a chance to practice things for themselves and to learn through action, rather than just coping with theoretical questions.”

 

Broude also notes that participation in such competitions shows that the students did something meaningful alongside their regular academic studies, something that can have a positive impact on their future professional opportunities. “Over the past several years I’ve followed what happens to the Faculty graduates who participated in these competitions, and they’ve done well for themselves. I’m not claiming that this is just because they participation in the competitions, but that shows something about the quality and motivation of the participants. These are the kind of students who will end up working for the United Nations, or on international tribunals and the like. It opens a window into a career in international law and gives them a good push forward. When I was a student we didn’t have these kind of opportunities,” Broude recalls.

 

The Annual Red Cross International Humanitarian Law Moot (IHL)

The IHL competition was held this year for the sixth consecutive year, and the first round included 12 teams from seven academic institutions around Israel. Each team includes three students who are required during the course of the competition to prove a knowledge and understanding of the rules of international humanitarian law. The students play different roles, such as attorneys general, commanders of guerilla forces, Red Cross representatives, United Nations diplomats, and so forth. The first stage is the national competition in Israel. The Hebrew University has won this stage for four years running, and last year two teams from the university won first and second places. In the second stage the winning team travels abroad to participate in an international competition against teams from around the world. The teams undergo initial screening by the university and the Red Cross to make sure they meet a minimum level of knowledge in the field.

 

Yahli Shereshevsky, the competition coordinator and one of last year’s coaches, explains why the IHL differs from other international legal competitions: “The other two main competitions offered in the Faculty are moot trials in which the first stage includes written arguments followed by a formal presentation stage. By contrast, in IHL the students study humanitarian law and related aspects, but there isn’t a single focused argument or advance preparations. The whole process is based on simulation games,” he notes. The competition is based on a selected background story and the teams take part in simulations, receive background material, and come into the room. Each time the situation is different, and each time the participants have to play a different role and present the relevant legal arguments. “They have to understand who they are, what it means to represent that party, which arguments are legitimate and which are not. The dynamic is also very different. There’s a big difference between courtroom debating and negotiations with another country or a discussion in the army,” Shereshevsky points out. “They need to have an excellent grasp of the material so that they can fish out the relevant points. The participants have to be very creative, to know how to present their case, and to know when to choose an argument that is more humanitarian and when to prefer a more military-oriented argument, for example.”

 

Shereshevsky continues: “I think this competition is the most fun to take part in as a student. It’s so creative, and you don’t find yourself rehearsing the same legal argument a thousand times over. The atmosphere and the spirit of the competition are also very special. When you move on to the international stage, the emphasis is on maintaining a pleasant atmosphere and encouraging international encounters. There’s a real sense of satisfaction, as in the other competitions, but also an emphasis on other aspects.”

 

The IHL is closely rooted in reality. Just as an attorney does not necessarily know what argument s/he will face next, so the participants in the competition have to gain a thorough and comprehensive knowledge of the law, since each time they focus on a different legal situation. “In the Jessup moot, for example, you prepare for a specific case, but in the IHL you have to prepare yourself for the unknown,” Professor Broude explains. “Just as in legal practice you sometimes have to react quickly to solve a problem, it’s the same in the simulation. You come with what knowledge you have, they try to confuse you, and you have to respond quickly in a rapidly-changing reality,” he adds.

 

The participants receive four academic credit points for participating in the national competition and two more points if they make it to the international competition. The competition also strengthens their self-confidence in speaking to audiences, judges, and adversaries. “Some legal professionals spend all their time drafting documents. But for most of them it’s a profession where you need excellent speaking skills. The competition really enhances your confidence in your own abilities in this field,” says Professor Broude. “The Hebrew University is very strong in the research field, but even native English speakers can find it hard to express themselves, let alone people who don’t have that background in the language. We try to teach this, too.”

 

 

The Copenhagen International Negotiation Competition

 

This is a relatively new competition held under the auspices of the University of Copenhagen. The competition focuses on negotiations for agreements between countries relating to complex international economic issues. Participation is by invitation only, and limited to fifteen leading institutions from around the world. In 2010, the Faculty was invited to participate in the second competition, which related to an international agreement to formalize trade rights in generic drugs. This subject combines international trade, human rights, and intellectual property. “We were invited because the organizers were looking for outstanding faculties from non-OECD countries,” Professor Broude explains. “During the course of the competition Israel joined the OECD, and for the purpose of the game the organizers told us that we would play the role of the OECD group. That changed our commitments and frameworks and raised the bar for the competition.” Despite this change, the university’s team – consisting of Lital Casper and Noah Alster – won first place in the competition. The first stage of the competition includes the submission of written documents, followed by a stage of oral arguments held in Copenhagen. “The document they prepared was excellent. We moved on to the oral stage and they won first place. That’s an exceptional achievement,” Broude notes.

 

 

lital

Lital Casper (right) and Noah Alster (Photo: Libi Oz)

 

“I remember that when we went to Copenhagen we were sure that we would be the underdogs,” Lital Casper recalls. “We arrived with two goals: to enjoy the competition, the people, and the experience and to have fun in the city. This was the first year that the Hebrew University had sent a team to the competition. For us it was an incredible learning experience, and we hoped to be good ambassadors for the university and to gain experience to help the university’s teams in the following years,” she explains. She recalls that during the competition the other teams used all kinds of negotiating tactics. The Israeli team had not concentrated on developing this aspect, but focused on content and on the general logic of the proposals. “We were sure that we didn’t stand a chance of reaching the finals, so we were really surprised,” Lital admits. She describes the competition as an amazing experience, and attributes the victory to a combination of excellent content and a successful approach to the negotiations. “Above all, I think we made sure to take a level-headed approach. We enjoyed the experience, the city, the competition, and the encounter with people from different countries. We didn’t let the pressure get to us,” she concludes.

 

In preparation for the competition, each team prepares a profile of an imaginary country similar to the country it is representing. The competition simulates multiparty negotiations between numerous countries ahead of the drafting of a particular convention. Sometimes the emphasis is on just a few clauses in the convention. Accordingly, while the other competitions are more adversarial, the situation in Copenhagen is complex in nature. During negotiations, everyone seeks to move things forward and reach agreement, but there are also conflicts of interest and overlapping interests. There might be a common interest with a country on one aspect, but a conflict on another issue. Broude suggests that the judges, who are themselves experienced diplomats from international organizations, also examine the team’s ability to advance the negotiations and not just to insist on its own position. The net result is a different kind of dynamic in the competition.

 

The competition also appeals to a different kind of student to the other legal competitions, and it focuses on different kinds of international issues. “Apart from humanitarian law and international public law, there is a whole world of international conventions dealing with economic issues and touching on regulations in the fields of safety, health, the environment, and so forth,” Professor Broude explains. “Today there is even an international convention on reducing smoking. There are certainly students who are interested in such progressive issues and we try to raise awareness of these fields,” he adds. In the past, the competition has addressed such issues as access to medicines, access to food against the background of global famine, and so forth – issues that are essentially economic. “The subject of rising global food prices, agricultural subsidies in certain countries, agreements to increase global food production, and improving the distribution of food are all a science in their own right and are studied outside the Faculty and the campus,” Professor Broude emphasizes. This year, for the first time, the organizers of the competition are requiring that one student in the team must come from the sciences, and one of the documents must be a scientific analysis of the product. This year’s subject is international trade in sustainable energy. “Each country has to decide what product it wants to promote. Israel could be a solar superpower,” Professor Broude suggests.

 

Michelle Nagar, who participated in the competition in 2011, warmly recommends the experience: “The Copenhagen competition is a great option for anyone who wants to learn about international law behind the scenes – how it is created, the role Realpolitik plays in the process, and the incredible importance of the ‘small print’ at the end of the convention. These aspects are not usually studied in the Faculty, but they can sometimes lead to very stormy arguments.” According to Nagar, the competition was a tremendous intellectual challenge that expanded her knowledge of international law in general and developed her strategic thinking. “For me,” she confesses, “the real reward came during the debating stage. I discovered my true capabilities at the moment of truth, and I had an amazing sense of empowerment that stayed with me for a long time after the competition.”

 

michelle

Michelle Nagar (right) and Shallya Scher

 

Students

Students

 

Who am I? Lena Mahula
Age: 19
Year: 2


The facts: Lena was born in St. Petersburg, Russia to a Russian-Christian father and an Arab-Christian mother from Kafr Yasif in the Galilee. Her parents met in Russia, and when she was five the family moved to Israel and settled in Kibbutz Ayalot. Later they moved to Haifa. “Although I wasn’t required to perform military service and they didn’t send me a draft, I decided to perform national-civilian service after completing my studies,” Lena explains. “I wanted to be like my classmates who were all giving several years of their life to the country. I don’t think I’m any different from other Israeli citizens.”

 

 

lena

Since Lena had always loved children and was interested in medicine, she decided to perform her service in the Pediatric Oncology department at Rambam Hospital in Haifa. “Despite the tragic circumstances, I saw real solidarity and fellowship in the department – between Arabs and Jews, immigrants and tourists, religious and secular people. Everyone shared the same sorrow and supported each other without any exceptions. I felt that I was helping, and I was able to communicate with families from the Territories who only spoke Arabic.” During her period of service, Lena also competed in the national beauty contest in 2012, winning second place.

 

Why law? “Everyone asks me that! Everyone who knew me was always certain that I would study medicine, like my parents, and a lot of people were really surprised when I decided to choose a completely different field.” Lena says that she chose the Hebrew University mainly because she has always wanted to be the best at anything she does. “I couldn’t allow myself to study somewhere that was less than excellent,” she claims. “Another reason was that I wanted to be independent and live on my own, without my parents’ supervision.” Two months after beginning her studies, Mahula found herself traveling to Las Vegas to compete in the Miss Universe contest. She confesses that studying law while working at the same time was far from easy: “It wasn’t easy for me to catch up after being away for a month. As soon as I returned to Israel I had to complete a huge amount of material from all the courses.” After thinking things over, Lena decided to take a break from her modeling work and devote herself entirely to her studies. “I told myself that as soon as the pressure eased up a bit I would start modeling again. Today I am managing for the first time to combine studies, work, and modeling.” Lena sees her modeling work as no more than a temporary job. “As you get older, younger models with more up-to-date fashions come along. You get thrown to one side and left without work,” she explains. “Modeling is just a phase; academic studies and a degree are forever.”


A second hearing: Law studies have been a milestone in Lena’s professional and personal life. She explains that for the first time she has begun to understand who she is and what her opinions are on various issues. “I’ve worked out a more consistent approach to various issues, from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to the legalization of soft drugs,” she says. She also reveals that she has become a feminist: “I’ve started using the feminine pronoun more and believing in women’s power. In particular, I believe that women need to push themselves forward and built their own education and successful careers.” Lena has always believed in self-motivation, but she claims that her law studies have opened her eyes to the sexism and chauvinism that are prominent in the world. “I would like to set an example through my actions for women from disadvantaged populations – particularly the Arab population, since I am Arab. In my national service, in the beauty contests, in my studies, and in securing good jobs, I have always wanted to prove that as Arab women we can achieve wonderful things if only we believe in ourselves.” 

  

Who am I? Vala Weintraub
Age: 26
Year: 4


The facts: Alongside her law studies, Vala is also participating in a project run by the Rothschild Caesarea Foundation, which established the Rothschild Ambassadors program in order to develop a network of interdisciplinary and involved leaders in Israel who are committed to influencing the situation and to social responsibility. “The activities include weekly training sessions in group settings. We also have to work on a social project that we establish from scratch, based on the specific needs of the city where we live,” Vala explains.

 

 

vala

 

In Jerusalem, Vala and her colleagues decided to establish a project focusing on employment among Haredim and among Arabs in the East of the city. The project, which they call “Compass for Employment,” seeks to provide specialist training in the public sector for Haredi and Arab third-year students. “We provide content that helps make employment more accessible, including interview workshops, meetings with employment consultants, and so forth,” she adds.

Why law? Vala says that she wanted to study law at the Hebrew University because she had heard that this was the best faculty in Israel. Apart from the professional aspects, she says that she found Jerusalem charming and loved living in the city. “And I still do! I even found an internship position here and didn’t run off to Tel Aviv like everyone else,” she jokes.

 

A second hearing: Vala is not only committed to the social rights of human beings. She has also been an animal rights activist since the age of 14 in various organizations. “When I was younger I was very involved and I even organized demonstrations by myself. Today my main activity is writing to Members of Knesset to support or oppose various propose laws, distributing materials, and of course making a monthly donation.” Animal rights is a growing field around the world. Vala feels that this is directly related to her law studies: “In the final analysis, a lot of problems are due to the current legal situation. Many of the biggest campaigns in Israel in the field of animal rights have been about legislation. One example is the force-feeding of geese, which has now been outlawed.” She claims that the obvious analogy between human rights and animal rights is recognized all the time, including in informal discussions about issues such as veganism. “I think that some day soon there will be a course on animal rights. I’m glad to say that the awareness of this issue in Israel has grown considerably, and people are starting to make the connection between harm to animals and our own ability to change the situation.”

 

  

Who am I? Gavriel Bayu
Age: 26
Year: 2


The facts: Gavriel was born in Jerusalem but lived abroad for several years. In 2008, when he was just 21, he opened his own advertising agency. “My clients included the municipality, Berman and Angel bakeries, and maybe half the restaurants and cafes in the city,” he recalls. While most of his classmates are preoccupied by tests and projects, Gavriel is already involved in the real world of business. “I sold my local client base to one of the biggest agencies in the city and joined an office in Tel Aviv as a partner. We work with all kinds of clients there – Hot, 012, Microsoft, Clal, several banks, and so on.” As if this weren’t enough, Gavriel is also a director in a Jerusalem company in the services sector.

gavriel

 

Why law? “I believe that law is a central field that can move me forward personally and professionally,” Gavriel explains. He already has an education in accounting and economics, and in the future, Gavriel plans to combine his law studies with a master’s degree in business.  His reasons for choosing the Hebrew University are very straightforward: “The Hebrew University is the only Israeli university that is included on the Shanghai Ranking”. In addition to these practical considerations, however, Gavriel also offers a more emotional reason: “The guys here are amazing. Every day I realize how right I was to decide to study here, including in terms of my classmates.” There’s nowhere else like the Hebrew University!

 

A second hearing: Although Gavriel already has a rich professional life, he admits that the combination of work and studies is a challenge: “It’s hard to cope with studying and working at the same time.” The result is that Gavriel does not spend most of his time in the university or the Faculty, but he is still famous among his peers. “I miss quite a lot of classes but somehow everyone still knows me.” One reason may be that Gavriel founded the sarcastic website “Arrogant Legal Geniuses,” which presents humor from the legal world and has already won some 3,300 “likes.” 

  

Who am I? Guy Ziv
Age: 26
Year: 3

 

The facts: Guy came to study law at the Faculty in order to fight for justice, but soon found that he was mainly fascinated by the philosophical side of the subject. He now plans to continue to a master’s degree in law. He is also studying in the Department of Political Science.

 

Why law? “People always told me that I enjoy arguing, and I was always attracted by the idea of fighting for justice. When I was growing up I often felt that I had to struggle for something I believed was right, so it was only natural to study a subject that can help me do that. 

 

guy

The studies aren’t easy – I would describe them as challenging. On the other hand, when you get a good grade you really feel you’ve achieved something, and it’s rewarding to cope with those kind of challenges. Some of the courses have provided me with tools for explaining myself, stating my case, and formulating my position. Those are the course I liked most – the ones that touch on the philosophical principles behind law and policy.”

 

A second hearing: “Over the past year I have volunteered in an organization called The Sky’s the Limit,” Guy tells us. “The organization works with young people at risk from disadvantaged neighborhoods of Jerusalem. The method is to give these young people the feeling that they can improve their own lives and their surroundings by themselves. We don’t want to help them directly, but to lead them through a process of empowerment, according to the motto that you shouldn’t give someone a fish but rather a fishing rod. The counselors help the children to develop their verbal skills and self-confidence. At the end of the year the children plan and implement projects to help their own communities. This year, one of the groups came up with a plan to screen movies for the community. I received a scholarship in return for volunteering in the project. I didn’t work as a counselor but I managed the project’s online presence to raise awareness, maintain our relationships with international charities, and make new contacts. One of the things I liked about my involvement in the project,” Guy continues, “is that there were lots of opportunities to implement and learn more about subjects we studied at the Faculty. It’s a really hands-on experience and it gave me new perspective about the more practical side of things and how issues are reflected in the real world.”

 

The LL.M. Program at the Faculty of Law: Reaching out to Students from around the World

The LL.M. Program at the Faculty of Law: Reaching out to Students from around the World

 

The Faculty of Law’s English-language master’s degree program (LL.M.) offers law students from various fields an opportunity to study in Jerusalem’s unique atmosphere * The students come from around the world and study in advanced tracks specializing in human rights or international commercial law

 

The Faculty of Law at the Hebrew University has a firm reputation as the leader in its field in Israel. As Israeli undergraduates work hard to gain their LL.B. degrees, some of them may not even notice that the Faculty also welcomes students from around the world who join its prestigious LL.M. program intended for English-speaking overseas students.

 

The program focuses on two main tracks – human rights and international law, and international commercial law and intellectual property. Over the course of the year, the students are required to attend several compulsory courses, seminars, and basic and elective courses. They can also submit a thesis. “The wide selection of courses was a key factor in my decision,” says Irena Rozina, a graduate of the program. “The choice was a factor, as was the Hebrew University’s excellent reputation.” Irena, originally from Moscow, was planning to study in Germany when “almost by chance,” as she puts it, she heard about the Faculty’s LL.M. program. “After looking into the matter a bit I decided to change my plans, and I haven’t looked back since,” she explains.

 

In the classes the students meet many of the Faculty’s most prominent lecturers in the field, including Professors Yuval Shany, David Kretzmer and Robbie Sabel in the human rights track, and Professor Assaf Hamdani and Doctors Yehonatan Givati and Guy Pessach in the commercial track. The teaching team also includes guest lecturers and professors enabling the students to learn different fields of specialization from some of the leading lecturers in the world. “The lecturers who taught the classes I attended made a real contribution to my career and my knowledge,” Irena notes. “On many occasions they helped me re-examine various aspects and see things from different perspectives.”

 

What about the students?

“The multinational character of the program is an advantage in its own right, in my opinion. Actually this aspect is no less important than the program itself: you can learn a lot from the lecturers, but also from each other.”

 

Do you any advice to give students just beginning the program?

“Sure! Make the most of this opportunity. Study – but don’t forget that you are in a truly unique city that is worth studying in, and worth studying in itself.”

 

From the United States to Israel – via Cambodia

Patrick McKinley, who is due to begin the program this year, explains: “This program has some great components, above all a high-quality faculty in academic terms with practical experience both in the past and the present. Apart from that, you have students from around the world who come with their own understanding, knowledge, education, and sometimes practical experience in the field.” McKinley feels that “these conditions create a melting pot for us students, and a great environment where we can improve our understanding of the field and enjoy opportunities to encounter new issues and approaches.”

 

Patrick has an unusual background, as do many of the students who come to the Faculty’s LL.M. program. He began his journey through the world of law as a criminal prosecutor in Texas. After nine years in the position, he went to teach law in the capital of Cambodia. “The situation there is still evolving following the genocide that took place in the country, and my main task was to teach basic legal concepts,” he explains. During his teaching work, Patrick was exposed to the subject of human rights and began to study himself. After completing his teaching assignment, he began to work as a country director for International Justice Mission, an American organization that helps save the victims of abuse and human rights violations. “Our office in Cambodia focused mainly on the war against human trafficking, particularly in the context of the sex industry.”

 

 

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Patrick McKinley

You seem to have a very impressive record. Why did you decide to apply for the LL.M. program?

“My academic background in the United States focused mainly on local and federal criminal law, rather than international law. I was exposed to international human rights law in Cambodia during the course of my work, but I have never studied the subject in a structured way. I realized that there was a gap between my education and my practical work."

 

 How did you end up at the Faculty of Law in the Hebrew University?

“When my wife applied for a job in an international agency in Jerusalem, I decided to take the opportunity to fill in my academic gaps. When I realized that I could study here in English – learn together with people, sit in lectures, and hear professors with extensive practical experience in the field – I knew straight away that I wanted to be part of it.”

 

Patrick and his wife have two young daughters. He relates that for the first time in his life he does not plan to work, but to devote more time to the family home. “This is a really big change,” he admits, “and it was even a bit frightening at first. But it turned out to be great.”

 

Can you combine running the home with your studies?

“The program is very flexible. I don’t have any problem touring Jerusalem and Israel with the girls and still finding time to study. We’re having a great time.”

 

How are your impressions of Israel itself?

“I think the whole issue of safety in Israel is a myth,” Patrick claims. It might seem hard to believe him, until you remember his background. “I feel much safer in Israel than I did in Cambodia. Sometimes it really frightened me to know that some of the people in the security forces there had access to firearms. I feel safe here and I’m sure that we’ll be protected. If we’d been concerned about the security situation we wouldn’t have come here.”

 

Will you stay in Israel after the program?

“Some of the students in the program come here, complete their degree, and then go back to their own country. But we plan to stay in Israel for a while, at least for a few years. I hope that the program will introduce me to some of the initiatives in the field of human rights law in Israel and in the region in general. I want to see if I can find my place in that field and identify opportunities to draw on my professional experience. Of course, the academic education I will get here will be an important factor. The LL.M. program is a great stepping stone.”

 

 

An Opportunity to Focus on New Subjects

Needless to say, not all the students came via Cambodia and spent time fighting human trafficking before arriving in the LL.M. program. Anna Lackerman, for example, has a more conventional background that is quite similar to that of the average Israeli student who comes to the Faculty of Law. “I come from Germany,” she explains, “and I recently finished my studies at Heidelberg University, where I specialized in international law. Among other experiences, I participated in the Jessup competition in international law and I attended a summer course in the field.”

 

Why did you decide to join the LL.M. program?

“I’m interested in expanding my knowledge in the field of international law. In particular, it’s important to me to study the subject from a comparative perspective.

 

 

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Anna Lackerman

With that in mind, it’s a big plus to be in a program where I can meet students from diverse backgrounds, countries, and cultures.

 

I was particularly attracted by the range of courses on offer. I visited various universities while I was trying to reach a decision, including the Hebrew University and the Faculty of Law here. I met with several faculty members to hear about the program and my impression of the course and the people I met was outstanding.”

 

Why did you choose to come to the Faculty of Law at the Hebrew University?

“I visited Israel several times in the past and had a great time, and I’m sure I’ll enjoy myself this time, too!”

 

Do you plan to concentrate on a particular subject during your studies?

“I think the range of courses covers a very broad spectrum of issues in international law. All the areas are interesting and challenging. Until now I have mainly focused on international law in the broad sense, along with international commercial law. But I think I’ll take the opportunity to study the international laws relating to the various conflicts in the Middle East, including those that affect Israel, of course. I’m also very interested to learn more about transitional justice, which I didn’t have a chance to study in Heidelberg.”

 

I think we can assume that you won’t be ending your academic career with a master’s degree. What are your plans for the future?

“I’m thinking about going on to study for a doctorate in law, although I haven’t decided where. Maybe I’ll go back to Germany, but on the other hand – perhaps I’ll stay here in Israel.”

 

 

*Further information about the program is available at www.llm-hu.com/

The Minerva Center for Human Rights: Internalizing International Law in Israel

The Minerva Center for Human Rights: Internalizing International Law in Israel

 

The Minerva Center for Human Rights at the Hebrew University has initiated numerous academic projects and strives to enhance the students’ understanding of human rights issues * We decided to focus on one of the Center’s programs that aims to enhance the internalization of international human rights laws in Israel * The program, funded by the European Union, includes tri-partite encounters between government, civil society and academia, as well as a research group and the preparation of research resources for human rights law 

 

Meetings between Government, Civil Society and Academia

The State of Israel has signed seven international treaties addressing the full range of human rights: civil rights, social rights, prevention of torture, elimination of racial discrimination, and the rights of women, children, and people with disabilities. The state is committed to reporting once every few years to the expert monitoring committees the UN establishes for each treaty, detailing its progress on the various issues and answering specific questions. The state is required to prepare a report relating to each treaty describing the state of human rights in each field and to answer questions from the international monitoring committees. After submitting the report, representatives of the state visit the UN in Geneva for a discussion with the relevant professional committee. Like all signatory countries, Israel presents its position, and at the end of the process the committee prepares a concluding report, including recommendations for improvements.  

 

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Professor Tomer Broude

 

 

Professor Tomer Broude, an expert on international law, is responsible for the program, together with Faculty Dean Professor Yuval Shany, who is himself a member of the UN Human Rights Committee, monitoring the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Professor Broude explains the process: “The monitoring committees cannot oblige the state to take any particular course of action, but their work highlights areas where there are gaps between the international undertaking the state has assumed and the reality on the ground. The committees in Geneva also turn to civil society organizations from across the political spectrum in order to obtain ‘shadow reports’ by way of an alternative source of information to the state’s report. This can create an unnecessarily constructive situation, but this process also offers an opportunity to improve the internalization of human rights laws.”

 

In some countries, the government itself invites civil society organizations to consult and engage in discussions on the human rights situation before submitting its reports to the monitoring committees. In Israel, cooperation between the government and civil society organizations is limited in most fields. As part of the project, the Minerva Center has taken on the goal of redressing this situation by organizing tri-partite meetings between government, civil society and academia. The meetings, which are coordinated by Attorney Shlomi Balaban, aim to enhance the cooperation between the state and civil society organizations in the reporting process. “The idea of cooperation is unprecedented in Israel,” Broude emphasizes. “These are organizations that usually encounter the representatives of the state in court in the context of conflicts and confrontation. But we have managed to launch an experimental process whereby, before the reports are submitted to the UN, the state presents a draft of the main points to the organizations and a discussion is held in Israel.” About a month ago, a meeting of this kind was held to discuss Israel’s report to the Human Rights Committee. Some twenty organizations participated in the meeting, which yielded some positive outcomes: “The participants listened very carefully to each other. In some cases the government representatives heard facts or figures from the organizations that they had not been aware of. They continued to sit together for a long time after the meeting in order to share information and write down further details,” Broude reports enthusiastically. For their part, the organizations heard explanations about problems in implementation in various fields that they had not previously recognized.

 

“We will hold several further meetings in this framework,” Broude notes. “After the committee prepares its report, we hold a concluding event to see how we can move things forward. For example, we held an event to promote the establishment of a national human rights commission and the enactment of a Basic Law defining social rights after the Social and Economic Rights Committee recommended that Israel should take these steps.” Broude acknowledges that these processes take time, but the hope is that the work will eventually bear fruit and will continue without the need for academic intervention.

 

A Research Group and a Groundbreaking Research Aid

The Minerva Center is working on several fronts to promote the internalization of the human rights laws to which Israel is committed and to improve the way these are reflected in Israel’s domestic legal system. All the treaties Israel has signed require various levels of induction into Israeli law. The Knesset is responsible for the legislative process, but in many cases there is no positive induction and a gap results. In order to meet this goal, and in addition to the meetings described above, a research group has been established. Led by Professor David Kretzmer and funded by the European Union, the group aims to produce several articles analyzing weak points in Israel’s absorption of the treaties. “The research group will analyze various junctions at which Israeli law has still failed to internalize its international undertakings,” Professor Broude explains.

 

As part of the effort to improve the way the human rights treaties are reflected in domestic law, the Minerva Center is preparing a pioneering research aid that will make international human rights law accessible to Israeli attorneys and jurists. Attorney Danny Levitan is coordinating this project.

 

 

danny 

Attorney Danny Levitan

“We are establishing an online information system using a ‘Wiki’ format. This is an index that aims to collate information in a single place. This means that anyone will be able to search for a particular concept in human rights, such as social rights, family rights, equality, and so forth. The system has a ‘tree’ structure – it is divided into sections and detailed sub-sections including links to the official sources in international law. In addition to the references, users will also have access to Hebrew translations of much of the material that has not previously been able in this language,” Levitan explains.

 

The proposed index aims to simply access to international material and to provide a research aid cross-referencing Israeli law and the international law to which Israel is committed. This is an innovative project and the first pilot open to the public will be launched shortly.

 

 

At present, much of the material is not available in Hebrew. The government has translated the treaties and the reports of the monitoring committees, but the “General Comments,” which form an important legal source, are not available in Hebrew, and the same is true of the conclusions of the various committees. Some of the conclusions of the committees are currently being translated by the Ministry of Justice and the site will include links to these translations. The commentaries have been translated for the first time as part of the project. The translated sources aim to overcome the language barrier and the difficulty in locating material dispersed around different international websites.

“Researchers in the Field:” A First in Israel – A Book on Private International Law

“Researchers in the Field:” A First in Israel – A Book on Private International Law

 

After an extensive period of research, Faculty member Professor Celia Fassberg is about to publish a book on Private International Law * This is the first comprehensive work on the subject published in Hebrew * We spoke to Professor Fassberg, who told us about the book, the writing process, and her fascination with Private International Law

 

Professor Fassberg, what is the idea behind the book?

“It is a comprehensive book on Private International Law - a research book, and a reference work. It is a research book in the sense that it proposes a theoretical approach to the field and its problems, and it is a reference work in the sense that it is designed to provide systematic and comprehensive responses to practical questions.”

 

What is special about the book?

“What’s special is that there is no other book in Israel that encompasses the entire field on both a theoretical and a positive level. There are articles and essays, but there is no comprehensive work. My book seeks to fill this gap. In the theoretical section I try to present the major questions that characterise the field and the components of any legal response to them. For example, in the field of adjudicatory jurisdiction, the main question is: when are Israeli courts authorised to decide a particular case, and why? 

 

celia

Professor Celia Fassberg

 

I draw on other legal systems and theoretical literature in order to answer this question and to extrapolate the components of the law of jurisdiction:  different kinds of jurisdictional factors are used for different kinds of jurisdiction, and the jurisdictional factors are applied to these different types of jurisdiction taking into account a variety of considerations – fairness toward the litigants, efficiency of the proceeding, and so forth - all on the basis of a general systemic approach towards the role of the judge in decisions regarding jurisdiction. A comparative approach reveals these different components and the relationship between them, and suggests how a coherent set of rules can be constructed. The chapters on Israeli law provide a critical and comparative analysis of the rules of Private International Law in Israel in each field of law.”

 

Can you explain the structure of the book?

“The book is based in part on the leading English work in the field (Dicey, Morris and Collins, The Conflict of Laws), which is updated every few years. It differs from that work in the sense that English legal literature tends to be primarily positivist and descriptive, whereas my book has a strong emphasis on the theoretical and comparative aspects of the field. The book is divided into three sections. The first section is completely theoretical and presents the different branches of Private International Law from a comparative legal perspective. The second section takes an overall look at each of these branches in Israeli law in the light of the theoretical chapters. The third section analyses the Israeli rules of Private International Law in each of the fields of substantive law.”

 

Why did you choose this particular structure?

“Mainly because there is no comprehensive writing on this subject in Israel that can serve as a basis  for examination of the existing rules. Private International Law addresses three separate areas: international adjudicatory jurisdiction; choice of law; and foreign judgments. The first two sections of the book discuss the theory of adjudicatory jurisdiction, the theory of choice of law, and the theory of foreign judgments' law. In these sections I  identify the fundamental structure of each field and its different components, and then suggest how they can be combined in a coherent way. The second section examines whether each branch of this field is properly constructed in Israeli law. My conclusion is that this is not the case. The third section takes each field of substantive law and examines the rules of Israeli law regarding international adjudicatory jurisdiction, choice of law, and foreign judgments in that field. This structure offers both an overall theoretical perspective and an analysis of existing law.”

 

What materials did you use?

“I used English, Swiss, Italian, French, German and sometimes American materials, as well as materials from international conventions – mainly European – in order to illuminate the field.”

 

Did you identify a specific need in Israel for a book of this kind?

“I think there is a need for a book of this kind in Israel. In the Israeli academic world there is a debate about whether it is worthwhile to write in Hebrew and to write about Israeli law. I believe that it is extremely important to contribute to legal literature in Hebrew and to write critical texts about Israeli law. This is a field that few lawyers understand, it’s a difficult field, and I think it is important to have a basic work of this kind so that we can develop private international law properly. We cannot rely solely on foreign literature. It’s true that we have drawn heavily from English law in this field, but English law is no longer a formal source for Israeli law, and it is no longer suited to that role. Until the 1960s it was possible to draw rules from English law and adapt them to local conditions, but this is no longer possible. We have developed our own unique system, and we have to construct rules of Private International Law that are adapted to it.”

 

What process is involved in publishing a book of this kind?

“This is a huge project that I have been working on intensively for many years, first on the conceptual level and in research and then in writing. It is a project that I could only work on after many years of teaching and research. This is a field that takes a long time to learn since it has three distinct branches, it applies to all areas of private law, and it requires frequent reference to comparative law. For example, in order properly to evaluate any given case we need to know whether it is possible to sue in another country, and what law would apply there. In other words, we need to take other countries' legal systems into account and ask how they would approach the problem, and why. It’s only in the last few years that I have reached a point where I feel I can see the field in its entirety. Even so, while I was writing the book I realized how much I do not know and I learned a lot. It has been a fascinating process of learning and I really enjoyed it, although the last year – the technical preparation of the book for printing – was extremely difficult.”

 

Is there any aspect or chapter in the book that you feel particularly close to or that is of special interest to you?

“It’s hard to say. I wrote a book about foreign judgments in the past, and that’s an area I have always loved. In this book I constructed the chapters on foreign judgments differently. It was an interesting challenge to present the material anew and without repeating myself. I have also always loved the field of choice of law. I was never particularly interested in problems of adjudicatory jurisdiction, but once again the process of writing the book helped me come to appreciate how fascinating they can be. It was always clear to me that choice of law and foreign judgments raise fascinating questions. Our attitude towards foreign law reflects in part our attitude towards domestic law and towards law in general, and our attitude towards foreign judgments reflects our approach to litigation and judicial decision-making, as well as towards the character of domestic decisions. I was happy to discover that the field of international adjudicatory jurisdiction also raises ‘big’ questions. For example, how do we regard the role of the state in litigation and the realization of rights, and how do we perceive law? In the field of jurisdiction, we ask why the state takes jurisdiction to decide a given case; what connection is required and what connection is sufficient to justify it in doing so? These rules must also reflect the way we think about law, about the state, about relations between the state and the individual – whether local or foreign – and about the relations between states.

 

People tend to belittle procedural law, but it is the heart of any legal system; it reveals the way we understand what law is and what rights are. I don’t like it when people say that Private International Law is procedural law, because this isn’t the case. But it does share with procedural law this fascinating quality:  it expresses fundamental attitudes towards the essential nature of law in any system.”

 

Lastly, why private international law?

“Apart from the complexity of the field, what is special about it is that it highlights the relative character of law. It shows that you can never simply declare ‘I have a right.’ The existence of a right depends on the perspective from which you are speaking. You might have a right in Israel under Israeli law, but in Germany they might not recognize this right, or they might recognize it in a slightly different way. Private international law is a kind of legal ‘theory of relativity,’ and to me it is the most exciting and challenging field of law.”

Vol. 16

 
 

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Vol. 16 February 2014

 

 

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Cooperation between the Faculty and WIPO Creates New Opportunities in the Field of Intellectual Property

The Faculty of Law recently signed an agreement to expand its existing cooperation with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) – the United Nations organization devoted to this field. The Faculty already offers diverse courses and research opportunities in the field of intellectual property, but the new agreement will enable students to work as interns in WIPO, alongside the existing areas of cooperation between the two sides. 
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The Minerva Center Delegation to Northern Ireland: A Fresh Perspective on the Israeli-Arab Conflict

For several years the Minerva Center has organized student study tours to areas of conflict where mechanisms for transitional justice have been introduced. The students enjoy an unforgettable experience and observe at first hand the unique ways different countries have found to cope with post-conflict situations and to advance human rights and the rule of law. The study trips are held with the help of generous support from the Gal Foundation in New York.

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Faculty Graduates Share Their Experience With Students about to Begin Internships

Graduates of the Faculty of Law attended a special panel discussion and shared their experiences with undergraduate students at the Faculty. The diverse panel offered students a glimpse of life in different areas of the legal professional, from the public sector and academia to major law firms.

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Short meetings with faculty students
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Researchers in the Field

“Researchers in the Field:” Labor Law – Between Universalism and Selectivity

In a new series of studies, labor law expert Professor Guy Davidov discusses the purposes behind labor law and examines how the law should be structured and updated in light of these purposes.
Read More...

 
 
 
Editor: Ronen Polliack
Editorial board: Sivan Mizrahi, Zohar Drookman
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Faculty of Law - All Rights Reserved

Faculty Graduates Share Their Experience With Students about to Begin Internships

Faculty Graduates Share Their Experience With Students about to Begin Internships

 

Graduates of the Faculty of Law attended a special panel discussion and shared their experiences with undergraduate students at the Faculty. The diverse panel offered students a glimpse of life in different areas of the legal professional, from the public sector and academia to major law firms.

 

Many young people choose to study law because it is a promising field that includes numerous interesting career opportunities. But a young student who only recently came through the doors of the Faculty does not necessarily have a firm idea of his or her future in the profession.

 

Later on, as the time approaches to begin interviews for internship, students face increasing pressure to choose their professional direction. The in-depth studies at the Faculty give them some idea of the various areas open to graduates, but nevertheless there is a significant gap between academic theory and practice in the field. In order to address the students’ concerns and anxieties, the Faculty, the Association of Law Students, and the Alumni Club organized a special evening at which six graduates discussed their professional paths since graduation. The graduates explained the decisions they made and their consequences, helping to clarify what it means to “really be a lawyer.”

 

The Faculty has many distinguished graduates, including judges and prominent attorneys who have reached the pinnacle of the Israeli legal profession. However, it is far from easy for the average student to imagine the path that leads from constitutional or property law classes to the position of Supreme Court president. Accordingly, it was decided to focus this time on graduates who are in the middle of their careers and still have a long professional future ahead of them. With this in mind, the title of the panel was “A Decade On,” and the participants were graduates who completed their undergraduate studies at the Faculty 10 years ago. The panel members still have a clear memory of their own undergraduate days, on the one hand, but can already speak from several years’ experience in the field.

 

 

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Diverse fields
It is no secret that graduates of the Faculty of Law at the Hebrew University enjoy numerous and diverse options. Indeed one of the problems that faces graduates is not a lack of options, but the large number of possible choices, and the sense that each one will determine the course of an entire career. Accordingly, an effort was made to include on the panel graduates who could represent the range of options open to the students. The encounter presented a wide variety of areas of employment, including private law, public law, and academia, alongside graduates who chose to leave the legal profession and move into management or politics.

 

Despite the warnings of fierce competition in the private market, three of the panel members explained that there is still hope, and that law graduates – particularly from the Faculty – can look forward to a promising future. Two of the panel members, Attorneys Lior Mimon and Shai Tamar, are currently working at two of the leading law firms in Israel. Attorney Mimon, who works at S. Horowitz & Co., explained his daily routine: “Every weekday morning I take my two young daughters to kindergarten – a ‘job’ I refuse to do without. As for the professional side, I can’t really say that there is any fixed routine. The combination of major clients who are leaders in their field and extensive and complex cases means that every day brings interesting new tasks. One day is rarely the same as the next, and I think that’s one of the main advantages of litigation work in a large law firm. Your days are busy, but at the same time interesting and challenging, and of course it is very rewarding.”

 

Attorney Maya Lasser-Weiss, who is now responsible for legal advice in the legal office of the Ministry of Finance, discussed her own experience. She emphasized the interesting nature of work in the legal advice offices of government ministries and described the active involvement of attorneys in these offices in shaping reforms, issuing important economic tenders, introducing regulation in diverse fields, and so forth. “I feel fortunate to have been given an opportunity to be at the center of public activity on a daily basis and to be a partner in processes that are significant for every citizen in the State of Israel.”

 

 

The lively discussion among the speakers highlighted the different paths they took from the same starting point. Equipped with a degree from the Faculty of Law, they all enjoyed impressive offers of internships, but each one soon branched out into a different direction. Attorney Avi Gruber discussed the difficulty in finding work as a private attorney in a very large market and explained why he eventually decided to enter the world of politics. “For me it was all clear from the outset,” Attorney Ilanit Shai-Farber countered. “After graduating I began to work in my family’s construction company. I now serve as the company’s assistant executive director.” Attorney Maya Lasser-Weiss recalled that even during her undergraduate studies she had been attracted to the areas of constitutional and public law. These interests led her to choose a preliminary internship in the field of local government law, followed by an internship in the Petitions Department of the State Attorney’s Office and a position in the legal office of the Ministry of Finance.

 

 

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Diverse opportunities
The Faculty students were fascinated by the panel and eager to hear about possible future directions. Unsurprisingly, most of the students in the audience were in their third year of studies, just a few months away from their first major career decision and their internship interviews. However, the audience also included second-year students who are beginning to shape their future through the courses they choose, as well as first-year students who only began their studies a few weeks earlier.

 

After the participants were invited to ask questions, several students began to express their fears. A common and understandable fear is that the market is saturated and excessively competitive. Attorney Mimon commented: “The statistics show that the proportion of active lawyers in Israel relative to the population size is indeed high by international standards. But you have to take into account the highly-developed appetite for litigation in Israel, which leads to a large number of legal proceedings and high demand for lawyers. From my own experience I can tell you that the market is crying out for outstanding lawyers. Graduates of the Faculty are in high demand in our firm, and I’m sure the same is true in other leading firms. The market believes that you have the potential to become excellent lawyers thanks to your impressive personal profile and the high-quality training you are receiving.” Mimon was quick to qualify his comments, however: “Of course, from the moment you are accepted by the firm, your future and your success in the field depend solely on you. You bear the burden of proof.”

 

After the panel’s comments and the question and answer session, the students left with plenty of food for thought about their professional futures. While the students were dispersing, the panel members stayed behind to chat. In addition to offering some pointers to the young students, the evening was also an opportunity for a mini-reunion and for an exchange of experiences. “The period of studies is a very meaningful and special one,” Attorney Mimon later commented. “While you’re in the middle of it all you sometimes forget that this is a wonderful time, and not just a period of preparation for legal practice. I will never forget my experiences during my studies at the Faculty.” 

 

Other students asked whether they should begin in a private firm before moving to the public sector, or vice versa. The panel members were in agreement that such transitions are not necessarily problematic, but they warned against indecision. “I can’t claim that from my first day at the Faculty I knew what direction I was going to take and what kind of internship would be best for me,” Attorney Mimon confessed. “I only formulated my decision at a later stage after I had been exposed to different courses at the Faculty and elsewhere, and after talking things over with friends who have experience in the field.” Attorney Lasser-Weiss emphasized that the diverse nature of her position in the legal office of the Ministry of Finance, which includes work in the fields of contracts, tenders, and the preparation of legal opinions, is a valuable asset for other positions in the public sector and elsewhere.

Cooperation between the Faculty and WIPO Creates New Opportunities in the Field of Intellectual Property

Cooperation between the Faculty and WIPO Creates New Opportunities in the Field of Intellectual Property

 

The Faculty of Law recently signed an agreement to expand its existing cooperation with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) – the United Nations organization devoted to this field. The Faculty already offers diverse courses and research opportunities in the field of intellectual property, but the new agreement will enable students to work as interns in WIPO, alongside the existing areas of cooperation between the two sides.



The Faculty of Law at the Hebrew University works hard to stay at the vanguard of research and studies and seeks to combine the two areas. To this end, the Faculty often works in cooperation with some of the leading institutions in the world in various fields in order to provide its students and researchers with the best possible opportunity to realize their full professional potential. A good example of this is the longstanding cooperation between the Faculty and WIPO, which was recently expanded to allow Faculty graduates to intern in the organization.

 

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The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is a special United Nations agency established in 1967 to promote the protection of intellectual property. WIPO is a focus of global activities relating to intellectual property and 186 countries are members of the organization, which is responsible for enforcing numerous international treaties and mechanisms from its head office in Geneva, Switzerland. WIPO is also active in the field of standardization, organizes extensive research activity, and helps to formulate intellectual property policies in diverse areas.

 

“The Faculty of Law at the Hebrew University is one of the leading faculties in Israel in the field of intellectual property,” explains Dr. Guy Pessach. He adds that the desire to maintain this leading position in the field explains the importance of cooperation with WIPO. Dr. Pessach, a senior lecturer at the Faculty in the fields of copyright, law and technology, and intellectual property, wrote his doctorate thesis on the subject of “Copyrights and Freedom of the Press” under the supervision of Professor Joshua Weisman. After undertaking post-doctorate studies at Yale University, Dr. Pessach became the first academic to join the Faculty of Law with the express intention of focusing on intellectual property. The Faculty has since expanded in this field, and Dr. Katya Assaf and Dr. Michal Shur-Ofry are now also active in teaching and research in intellectual property. “In terms of the range of courses and seminars we offer,” Dr. Pessach notes, “we are one of the leading institutions in the field in Israel. This is evident in undergraduate studies, in the master’s degree track in intellectual property, and in our extensive research work in the field.” 

 

Given this level of activity, it was only natural that the Faculty of Law would seek to expand its cooperation with WIPO. Israel’s contact person for WIPO is Attorney Li Maor, who is herself a graduate of the Faculty, where she completed a master’s degree in the Intellectual Property, Law, and Technology track, who contributed greatly to enhancing and expanding the cooperation between the Faculty and WIPO. “The cooperation between the Faculty and WIPO began a decade ago, and since then it has only grown and developed.”

 

What does the cooperation with WIPO include?
“In recent years the cooperation has been two way. On the one hand, WIPO cooperated with us to organize conferences on various issues on the public agenda relating to intellectual property. On the other, the Faculty itself has taken part in some specific WIPO projects. The highpoint of the relationship is an annual seminar on intellectual property. We held the first seminar in Geneva eight years ago in cooperation with WIPO and we attach great importance to repeating the event each year.”

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Dr. Guy Pessach

 

What happens at the seminar?
“The Faculty organizes the seminar, which is attended by representatives from dozens of leading academic institutions around the world in the field of intellectual property. Every year we chose a particular topic and invite lecturers and research students from the different institutions to present their research projects and articles relating to the year’s theme. The seminar lasts three days and provides an opportunity for researchers from around the world to meet and listen to each other.”

 

What about representatives from the Faculty of Law?
“As the organizer of the annual seminar, the Faculty enjoys the privilege of flying five outstanding students to Geneva who have a background and interest in intellectual property. The students take part in the seminar, and in some years students who had written research studies on the subject even presented their work in the seminar – a wonderful opportunity for any student. The students enjoy a unique experience: visiting a United Nations organization, meeting students from leading academic institutions around the world, and above all – expanding their horizons on the subject of intellectual property.”

 

What’s planned for the next seminar?
“The participants at the next seminar – and this is only a partial list – will include the Faculty of Law of the Hebrew University, Georgetown law school, Munich International Property Law Center, the Centre for International Intellectual Property Studies (CEIPI) in Strasbourg, the Faculty of Law at the University of Geneva, the School of Law at the University of Connecticut, the Faculty of Law at Oxford University, and Amsterdam University. This year’s theme is intellectual property, institutions, and organizations.”

 

What does that mean?
“The idea is to examine interactions between the field of intellectual property and various institutional aspects. An example is the relationship between intellectual property and the institutional aspects of the state, or the role of international bodies, research institutions, and not-for-profit institutions. The seminar is due to be held in the last week of May at the WIPO headquarters in Geneva. As in previous years, the Faculty will send a delegation to the seminar and an announcement on the subject is due to be published shortly.”

 

As noted, the cooperation with WIVO was recently expanded. For many years the main field of cooperation was the organization of conferences and seminars. Now an internship track has been launched for Faculty graduates allowing them to spend several months working at WIPO and to experience the “nerve center” of the intellectual property world.

What has changed following the new agreement?
“According to the recent agreement signed with WIPO, a Faculty graduate who holds an LLB degree and a master’s degree in any field (not necessarily law) will be able to undertake an internship at WIPO. The internship will be for three to six months, during which time the organization will place the intern in the WIPOLEX department, which is responsible for the organization’s legislation and comparative law databases. The first request for applications is due to be issued shortly. Naturally this is a particularly attractive opportunity for our graduates who have an interest in intellectual property and want to gain an international perspective at one of the most important centers in the field.”

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Dr. Michal Shur-Ofry

What will the interns do during their time at WIPO?
“The main function of WIPOLEX is to oversee the translation of acts of legislation relating to intellectual property into various languages in order to make them accessible to the organization and its members. The interns will also research and collate legal information and data for each country. Naturally we assume that our interns will devote much of their time to working on the Israeli file and making materials relating to Israel accessible to WIPO’s members. Of course this will only be part of their work, and it’s more than reasonable to assume that they will enjoy a taste of other aspects, too.”

 

So this is another opportunity for students to enjoy a broader international experience?
“Absolutely, and this complements the seminars and conferences. Our seminar is one of only a few around the world that enable researchers or research students who are just beginning their career to present their studies to a diverse audience that includes others at the same stage as well as experienced scholars. As academics we have plenty of conferences to attend, but for our students this is a unique opportunity.”

 

Does the experience prove beneficial?
“Almost everyone who has written a doctorate thesis on intellectual property at the Hebrew University presented their work at these seminars. An example is Dr. Michal Shur-Ofry, who has since joined the Faculty as a senior lecturer, as well as many others. This is a great way for junior researchers to develop international contacts. At the seminars they meet people from different countries who are at the same stage in their careers as well as more advanced researchers. We try to choose participants who are not only outstanding students but have shown a strong interest in intellectual property during their studies. The seminars focus on issues on the front line of contemporary research and offer an intellectual experience on the highest level.”

Students

Students

 


Who am I? Dvir Shatil
Age: 26
Year: 3


The facts: Many third-year students at the Faculty of Law choose to participate in exchange programs as part of their degree course. Other students decide from their first year to combine law studies with another field of interest. But Dvir’s story must surely be unique. In the middle of her degree she has decided to take time out to pursue patisserie studies at the renowned Cordon Bleu cookery school in Paris.

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Why law? “In high school I used to watch lots of television series such as ‘Law & Order,’ and I was really attracted by the legal side of the stories – the court hearings. I was fascinated by the different strategies the lawyers employed,” Dvir recalls. “In the army, as an adjutant in a combat battalion, I was exposed to all kinds of problems that face soldiers from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds. I learned a lot about the economic situation in Israel, and particularly about the problems people encounter in securing the rights to which they are entitled. After I learned about the social niche in the legal world, which seeks to provide knowledge and tools for social change, I realized that this was an area where I could contribute and grow personally.”

 

A second hearingDvir’s decision to embark on patisserie studies in the middle of her degree course was a brave one by any standard. “I suppose I was nervous about it,” she recalls. “I have been interested in the field of patisserie for the past ten years or so, and I progressed from occasional baking to learning new things. I love the creativity and enjoyment that this field offers, as well as the concentration and precision it demands. Over the past couple of years this hobby has become an important part of my life, both in terms of the amount of time I devote to it and in terms of my thoughts about future work in the field.” In order to make her dream come true, Dvir has said goodbye to the Faculty of Law – although she promises that she will return – and headed for the famous Cordon Bleu school in Paris. “Something that is nice and comfortable in my own little kitchen can smash into pieces at the school, where the pressure is great and they already expect professional standards,” she explains. “I was also worried about moving to a new country where I don’t have a very strong command of the language, but I managed to overcome my fears.” As mentioned. Dvir has no intention of abandoning her law studies. “I am still not sure whether I should find a patisserie internship here in Paris or return to Israel in the early summer and find work in a patisserie that I can combine with my law studies. At the moment my goal is to combine both worlds, at least until I complete my degree, because I’m not willing to give up either field.”

 

 


Who am I? Adam Shahaf
Age: 28
Year: 4


The factsAdam is studying Law and English Literature and is chairperson of the Ofek student group at the Hebrew University, which is faithful to the spirit of the Labor movement. In his second year he coordinated the Gal Project, which used legal tools to promote social issues, and at the beginning of the year he worked for the Labor-Meretz list in the municipal elections in Jerusalem.

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Why law? Adam chose to study law because he wanted to understand the “rules of the game” and gain tools for changing the status quo. He explains that he decided to combine his law studies with English literature because “I believe that reading offers us a chance to reach new realms of the human experience.”

 

A second hearing“Politics isn’t a dirty word,” Adam insists. The Ofek student group meets once every two weeks to discuss issues relating to the Israeli political reality, such as the labor market, civil rights, and religion and state. The group runs several projects, including social and cultural evenings, political debates, and tours of Jerusalem providing an acquaintance with the political situation in the city. Adam is also involved in efforts to promote direct employment at the university, rather than the use of contractors. Through the Ofek group he provides services such as the inspection of students’ salary slips.

 

 

Who am I? Matan Mehaber
Age: 20
Year: 3


The factsMatan, a native Jerusalemite, came to the Faculty of Law through the army reserve program for academics. After completing his degree, he is scheduled to serve in the Military Advocate General’s Office. For the moment he is living with his grandmother. “She lives very close to the campus, so it’s convenient in terms of access,” he explains. “I benefit most from this arrangement because I have someone to spoil me.” He is very pleased with his decision to join the academic reserves. “I think the experience of being an army reserve student at the Hebrew University is one of the best tracks you can choose. Within the reserve system, I think the law track is one of the most interesting and worthwhile. That’s true both in terms of your actual military service and in terms of the springboard it provides for civilian life.”

 

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Why law? “My legal background came from movies and television series,” Matan confesses. “They caught my imagination and I started to see myself as a criminal lawyer defending his clients. I felt this was something I could do and it inspired a sense of justice in me.” Matan’s plans began to change a little after he began his studies and encountered new fields. “Two months into my first year I fell totally in love with the contract courses, and later with corporate and property law. I gradually found that I was focusing more on private and commercial law. The lesson I’ve learned is that it’s important to keep an open mind and not to be stubborn about things. In the final analysis,” he concludes, “it’s simply interesting to study and I find that I really enjoy the courses.”  

 

A second hearingIn addition to his law studies, Matan joined the Hebrew University’s debating club. “I think that’s one of the best decisions I’ve made since I began my studies,” he remarks. The debating club has a proud tradition as the oldest club of its kind in Israel that has chalked up many successes over the years in competitions in Israel and abroad. “I’ve participated in several competitions in the Israeli league and I reached the final stages twice. In general I think we represent the team honorably.” Matan does not find himself alone in the team, which includes several students from the Faculty of Law who are attracted by the opportunity to hone their debating skills. “For law students, and particularly for those who are interested in litigation, I think this is a great platform for acquiring vital skills such as quick thinking, public speaking, developing logical arguments, and self-confidence. Of course not all the students come from the Faculty, so it’s also a great opportunity to meet students from other fields who bring fresh approaches.” After a positive experience in his second year, Matan decided to remain active in the club in his third year and was appointed its chairperson. “This is a more special opportunity. Apart from the general debating experience, I have also gained interesting tools in management, organizing events, and representing the debating club and the university as a whole in contacts with various bodies. To sum it up, this activity has really helped me and has been a great complement to my law studies.”

 

 

 

Who am I? Aya Schwartz
Age: 26
Year: 4

 

The factsAya lives in the Rehavia neighborhood of Jerusalem. She is the social involvement coordinator in the student union and volunteers as an instructor in the Acharai (“After Me”) association, an educational and social organization that promotes young leadership and encourages social involvement by young people ahead of their army service. Aya has also worked as an instructor in the “Women’s Circle” project operated by the Office of the Dean of Students.

 

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Why law? Aya believes that law studies provide a useful and important education for her future path. “The Faculty offers the best lecturers, fascinating studies, and a wide range of projects and opportunities for action,” Aya explains. “I see my experience here as a milestone in my life. During my studies I’ve met people who had a lot to teach me, and not only in the academic sphere.” 


A second hearingAya is one of the founders of the “Adopt a Grandparent” project, which is currently in its fourth year. The project aims to respond to the problem of loneliness among elderly people by arranging weekly meetings with a student in the elderly person’s home. The hope is that the project will bridge the generation gap and encourage a respectful attitude toward Israel’s growing elderly population. Over 40 students are participating in the project this year in Jerusalem, and activities have also been launched in Rehovot. The project was developed by the student union’s Entrepreneurial Center and is supported by JDC-Israel, the student association, and other bodies.

The Minerva Center Delegation to Northern Ireland: A Fresh Perspective on the Israeli-Arab Conflict

The Minerva Center Delegation to Northern Ireland: A Fresh Perspective on the Israeli-Arab Conflict

 

For several years the Minerva Center has organized student study tours to areas of conflict where mechanisms for transitional justice have been introduced. The students enjoy an unforgettable experience and observe at first hand the unique ways different countries have found to cope with post-conflict situations and to advance human rights and the rule of law. The study trips are held with the help of generous support from the Gal Foundation in New York.

 

The Hebrew University’s Minerva Center for Human Rights runs a variety of academic programs that expose students to different human rights issues. Since 2009 the Center has organized student delegations that undertake study tours on the subject of transitional justice in countries that have experienced conflict and introduced various mechanisms for coping with its aftermath. The students engage in an intensive semester program focusing on a country that has introduced transitional justice. The highpoint of the program is a visit to the country, providing an unforgettable encounter with the way in which it is working to ensure a future for its citizens that includes respect for human rights. During the first three years of the program, the delegations examined the issue of transitional justice through the example of Rwanda. Last year for the first time the students visited Northern Ireland, and a second visit is planned for this year.

 

Transitional justice refers to the efforts by different countries and societies to confront past injustices characterized by the protracted and serious violation of human rights. These countries have experienced civil war, oppressive regimes, and in some cases genocide, and are now moving into an era of reconciliation and rehabilitation in order to ensure a future of respect for human rights and the rule of law. The Faculty of Law’s Transitional Justice Program – the only one of its kind in Israel – includes research, conferences and workshops, guest visitors from Israel and abroad, and student scholarships and internships. The program, which includes a variety of courses for undergraduates and masters students, is supported by grants and donations from Israeli and foreign sources. The Gal Foundation in New York in particular has provided crucial support over the years.

 

The Faculty of Law offers its students a range of courses in this field, including the Transitional Justice Workshop, which focuses on Northern Ireland as a test case. The workshop is led by Dr. Ron Dudai, who has served as research fellow at the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation in South Africa, and at SOAS in the University of London, and wrote his doctorate thesis at Queen’s University in Belfast, Northern Ireland – and today is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Hebrew University's prestigious Martin Buber Society of Fellows.

 

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The group at the University of Ulster's Transitional Justice Institute (standing in the center: Dr. Ron Dudai, Attorney Danny Evron and law faculty student Michal Klein)

 

The workshop aims to examine and analyze the concepts and foundations of transitional justice in the context of conflict resolution, focusing on the test case of Northern Ireland. The “Troubles” in Northern Ireland were the most prominent and bloody conflict in Western Europe during the period following the Second World War. The process that led to the end of the conflict is considered to have been largely successful, though tensions remain. As part of this process a wide range initiatives and institutions were introduced to apply transitional justice. Among other aspects, the workshop examines comparative aspects. The Minerva Center believes that concepts, methods, and mechanisms for transitional justice used in particular places may help in bringing an end to conflicts in other parts of the world – including our own. 

 

Ten students from diverse academic backgrounds are selected for the workshop. Almost all the participants have some previous involvement in human rights, conflict resolution, peace building, international law, international relations, or other fields that touch on transitional justice. The highpoint of the seminar is a seven-day study tour of Northern Ireland that exposes the students to the complex issues and the mechanisms for transitional justice that have been established there. 

 

Attorney Danny Evron, the Executive Director of the Minerva Center for Human Rights, explains that Northern Ireland is an appropriate choice as a case study since the character and complexity of the conflict there is in many ways similar to the Israeli situation. Northern Ireland saw a bloody civil war between Catholics and Protestants that continued over several decades and included extreme acts of terror against civilians. “The issue is even more fascinating,” Evron adds, “since academia and civil society play a central and leading role in the positive process that is taking place there.”

 

 

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A tour of key neighborhoods in the conflict led by Prof. Peter Shirlow of Queens University Belfast

 

The Minerva Center believes in the tremendous importance and potential of studying a different place in order to gain a fresh and critical perspective on the place where we live. According to Evron, “In our own conflict, we take things for granted. We tend to make assumptions without being aware of them, everything is very personal and familiar. The workshop enables the students to study in a deep and intensive manner the complexities of the situation in a place that is completely new to them. The students thus come to the tour after having accumulated extensive knowledge in the field, and this allows them to examine what they see on a deeper level. The tour includes meetings, workshops, and visits to various sites accompanied by politicians, civil society organizations, academics, leaders, former commanders and prisoners from all sides of the conflict. The timetable is very intensive and at the end of each day the students participate in a summing-up session to discuss what they saw and heard, and naturally think about these issues in the Israeli context as well.” Evron adds that “There is something very eye-opening about this process. Over the course of the visit, the students realize that the situation is colored in many shades of gray, rather than black and white, and that it’s all very complex and convoluted. Some fascinating discussions develop among the students as they attempt to see how the things they observe there could be applied to our reality in Israel. We live in a reality in which the conflict seems unsolvable. The students’ encounter with inspiring individuals gives them hope that here, too, things could be different. The visit empowers them with the feeling that each one of them can play a meaningful role in the process of reconciliation.”

 

 

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A discussion with Mark Thompson, Director of "Relatives for Justice"

 

Michal Klein, a student at the Faculty who participated in last year’s delegation to Northern Ireland, recalls her experiences: “I have no doubts as to which were the two peak moments of the tour for me personally. The first was the encounter with five former combatants from different organizations who are active in the project From Prison to Peace. This project aims to encourage rehabilitation and promote dialogue between combatants from both sides of the divide. The second peak was the insight I gained into the meaning of peace, and the inevitable comparison between Northern Ireland and Israel, that was raised during our summarizing discussion on the last day.” Michal adds that the encounter with the combatants was very intensive and provided an opportunity to ask some difficult and even unpleasant questions. To her surprise, there was nothing uncomfortable about the replies she received. Michal explains that “the gulf between their past and present lives is impossible to fathom: Family life after some of them spent almost a decade in prison, and a militant ideology that has been replaced by the values of equality and equal opportunities. Their ability to talk to people who until 15 years ago were perceived as sworn enemies is inspiring. The course, and the tour as its highpoint, lead you toward a kind of sober realization. When you look at other people’s conflict, the borders between bad and wrong on the one hand and good and right on the other become more blurred. When it comes to our own conflict here, the fact that you are part of a particular narrative and grew up on one side of the conflict sometimes influences the way you think much more than you imagine. The picture of peace raises some serious questions: How to make peace, what peace really means, what forms and models can be used to shape it, and whether the model of Northern Ireland could be applied here.” Michal adds that the tour made her realize that a proper examination of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict must include two levels: On the macro level, a “cold” peace based on the cessation of violence between the two sides; and on the micro level – creating individual transitional justice for each population and initiating encounters between the two populations. “Perhaps that way there will be real change.”

 

 

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May 23, 1998: The Belfast Telegraph announces the results of the referendum that approved the peace agreement

 

“Researchers in the Field:” Labor Law – Between Universalism and Selectivity

“Researchers in the Field:” Labor Law – Between Universalism and Selectivity

 

In a new series of studies, labor law expert Professor Guy Davidov discusses the purposes behind labor law and examines how the law should be structured and updated in light of these purposes.

 

Labor law is a developing and important component of all modern legal systems and as such forms an integral part of research and studies at the Hebrew University Faculty of Law. As in other fields, Faculty researchers are taking part in global activities and fundamental rethinking of labor law. Professor Guy Davidov, who teaches labor law at the Faculty, offers a fresh approach to the field in his new study and highlights the changes that have occurred recently.

 

“The study focuses on the purposes behind legislative and case law regulation,” Davidov explains. “I discuss the various justifications and rationales behind labor law in depth and examine the extent to which the regulation is faithful to the purposes even when the reality in the labor market changes.”

 

Why did you choose to focus on labor law?
“My interest in labor law dates back to before I even began my undergraduate studies. My father had a firm that was active in the field, so I began to become familiar with labor law and take an interest in it from an early stage. I later worked in the firm as a law student, and I interned at the National Labor Court.”
 

 

How did you come to choose an academic career?
“I began my academic path in Israel. Later I traveled to Canada where I completed a master’s degree and doctorate at the University of Toronto. Canada is a very interesting place in terms of labor law. It is more highly developed than the neighboring United States, where labor law is overshadowed by American capitalism. My doctorate thesis discussed a central question that has preoccupied the labor courts and academic literature: who is considered an employee and who is considered an employer? This has significant practical implications, because only those who are considered employees and employers enjoy the rights of labor law and bear its obligations.”

 

What new angle do you offer?
“I am interested in the means and legal techniques that can realize the purposes of labor law. In the context of defining the term ‘employee’ or ‘employer,’ there is a need for a purposive interpretation that will effectively determine the scope of application of labor law. This demands profound consideration of the question as to why we need labor law. There is also a need for fresh thinking about the best means, that is to say the most appropriate legal tools. For example, what are the best tests for determining who is an “employee?” In my doctorate thesis I proposed new tests for this purpose. Another question, for example, is whether there should be an intermediate category between “employee” and “independent contractor” that would enjoy only some of the protections established in labor law. I argue that this would be useful.

 

The welfare state and labor law
After completing his doctorate, Professor Davidov returned to Israel and began to teach labor law at the University of Haifa. He later moved to the Faculty of Law at the Hebrew University while continuing to pursue his research interests. As his own academic career progressed, so did the field of labor law in general. “The main justification for labor law has changed from the traditional approach. Today, many scholars emphasize the advantages of labor law for society at large, and even for employers, rather than focusing solely on the workers themselves.”

 

 

What is your opinion about that?
“I think that this line of discourse offers certain advantages. It helps to reduce resistance to labor law among employers and economists. However it also entails a difficulty and some risks, as I argue in a recent article that was published in the University of Toronto Law Journal.”

 

What is the danger?
“In my article, I use concepts drawn from the welfare state literature to explain the difficulty. Discussion of the welfare state and the various benefits it provides is based on a distinction between universal and selective programs. An example of a universal program is the old age pension, which is awarded to everyone – even to millionaires. A selective benefit is given only to those who need it. Our first instinct is to assume that there is no reason to provide a universal benefit. In fact, however, selective benefits raise considerable costs and problems. They require tests and mechanisms for determining eligibility, which cost money. Selective benefits also create stigmas and can very easily be abolished or cut when there is an economic crisis, since most people are not affected.”

 

 

How do you apply these concepts in your research?
“In the recent article I mentioned I focus on the general purposes of labor law, the “traditional” ones as well as new ideas, such as the claim that labour laws advance efficiency. I then examine the various purposes through the prism of the distinction between universalism and selectivity. As I see it, the old purposes are essentially selective, in that they are perceived as beneficial for workers only. The new purposes are more universal. It is argued that they are good for everyone, not only for the private sector. However, there are advantages and disadvantages. On the one hand, universal justifications attract less opposition. On the other, and this is where the difficulty and danger come in, they cannot explain and justify all labor laws. In particular, they ignore distributive aspects such as the goal of labor law to transfer power, resources, and risks between the parties to the employment relationship.”

 

Between universalism and selectivity
Professor Davidov continued his use of the terms drawn from the field of welfare in an additional study.

 

“I have written another article that is due to appear in the Oxford Journal of Legal Studies that applies the distinction between selectivity and universalism more directly to the field of labor law. This time I reexamine the question to whom labor law applies. As I show, there is actually a spectrum of possibilities from the most universal law that applies to everyone to the most selective one that is restricted to a very specific sector in a very specific context. I argue that we need to make some corrections in order to improve the balance across this spectrum.”

 

How is that different from the current situation?
“At present, labor law is usually applied in an ‘all or nothing’ format. However, it might be better to move along this spectrum, and to say that law A will apply to you but law B will not. It is true that we pay a price for this kind of nuanced approach in terms of impaired certainty, but at the same time we gain a system that is more flexible and better suited to its purposes. Indeed, any system maintains some kind of balance between universalism and selectivity – there is no system that is totally biased to one side or the other. However, this balance is not always sufficiently conscious or explicit. Using these terms and considering the advantages and disadvantages enables us to make some corrections.”

 

What’s next?
“At the moment I am working on a book that will include the articles I have mentioned together with earlier material of mine and some additional chapters that are still in the writing process. The book will be published in English and offers a purposive analysis of labor law. I examine all the purposes of labor law, both general and specific (relating to a sample of several key laws). I will try to show how the purposive analysis should be performed. This is an inherently interdisciplinary analysis, since the purposes of a given field are not internal to that system but based, among other considerations, on insight from other fields such as economics and sociology. I will then attempt to apply the purposes to concrete issues, such as the definition of the employer and employee, and to examine how legal tools such as good faith or the employer’s prerogative can best realize these purposes. The book aims to summarize my research over the past 15 years or so, since I began my doctorate studies, and includes all the insights I have gathered over the years. It will offer me a chance to organize my ideas in a new form and I hope it will contribute to discourse on this subject.”

 

 

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Professor Guy Davidov

Vol. 17

 
 

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Vol. 17 July 2014

 

 

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A Springboard to Private Practice… with a Little Help from the Faculty

The Faculty of Law runs a variety of practical workshops as part of its ongoing effort to help students bridge the gap between theory and practice. Students learn to cope with real cases form the world of law and to understand the importance of small details. 
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The Institute for Jewish Law Celebrates Its Fiftieth Anniversary

Dr. Benny Porat, the director of the Faculty’s Institute for Jewish Law, believes that this field still has much to offer. As it marks its fiftieth anniversary, the Institute is more active than ever. It sponsors two well-regarded journals, holds conferences with a unique atmosphere of their own, maintains postgraduate degree programs, and provides an extensive library for students, researchers, and legal experts. And it still has time to plan for the future.

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Aspiring Higher

It isn’t easy to be an Arab student at the Faculty of Law. Language difficulties and the need to adapt to a different culture present unique challenges for Arab students during and after their studies. A special forum called Aspirations, established 12 years ago, works with Arab students from their first week at the Faculty.

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Short meetings with faculty students
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Guest Lecturer: Louis Moreno Ocampo
 

A report on the visit to the Faculty by the former Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court
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Editor: Ronen Polliack
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Faculty of Law - All Rights Reserved

Aspiring Higher

Aspiring Higher

 

It isn’t easy to be an Arab student at the Faculty of Law. Language difficulties and the need to adapt to a different culture present unique challenges for Arab students during and after their studies. A special forum called Aspirations, established 12 years ago, works with Arab students from their first week at the Faculty.

 

Renana Herman

 

Aspirations is an apolitical student forum established in 2002 on the initiative of Arab students and alumni of the Faculty of Law. “We don’t have any hidden interests,” emphasizes Mohannad Salaymeh, the chairperson of the forum, who is himself a student at the Faculty. “We work on an entirely voluntary basis to influence and change things in order to help the other students.”

 

Muhannad, what is the basic idea behind the forum?
The forum was founded 12 years ago on the initiative of Arab students at the Faculty who realized that the average grades of most of the Arab students were low relative to their earlier achievements as outstanding students in high school. Arab students also found it difficult to integrate in the social life of the Faculty. The Aspirations forum was founded in order to help improve their academic achievements, encourage excellence, an integrate them in the academic and social life of the Faculty.

 

What are the main difficulties that face Arab students when they arrive at the Faculty?
The main problem is language. For most Arab students, legal jargon is a “fourth language,” because it is a very elevated form of Hebrew. This also explains the gap between the achievements of Arab law students compared to the achievements of Arab students in other faculties. They also face difficulties in other fields, but legal language presents a particularly serious problem. The Jewish students also find this hard, but it is even more difficult for the Arabs.

 

Another factor is that Arab students come to the Faculty at a very young age, straight after high school (whereas their Jewish peers have usually performed several years of military service). This is the first time they leave home and begin a new life in a new city. While adapting to studies they also have to cope for the first time in their life with living on their own away from their parents. 

 

A third difficulty is the critical thinking demanded as part of the studies at the Faculty. The study method used at the Faculty requires students to think outside the box – a skill that most Arab students have not yet acquired. At high school they were usually expected to learn set material by rote before examinations and not to think independently.

There are also cultural difficulties, of course. Most of the Arab students find it difficult to adapt to a culture that is strange to them, and this can lead to social problems and isolation. 

 

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Meeting for the Arab first-year students with first year students

 

Is the long-term goal to create a cohesive and separate group or to encourage integration?
Our goal is to encourage the students to integrate in Faculty life and in the student union activities. However, in order to realize this goal it is important to build the group of Arab students internally in the hope that this will lead to external integration. We run various activities to this end. For example, over the past few years we have developed a tradition of running an annual trip outside the Faculty. The goal is to encourage the students from different years to get to know each other and to meet attorneys who have already completed their studies at the Faculty. This experience helps consolidate the group and encourages an important support network that can help them in future to find their place in the legal job market.


What other activities does the Forum organize?
We work in two spheres. In the social sphere we organize outings and visits. Last year, for example, we visited the Supreme Court and met with Justice Salim Joubran. In the academic sphere we focus mainly on the first-year students. Every year we hold a traditional meeting for the Arab first-year students to welcome them to the Faculty. We provide them with information about the Aspirations forum and reassure them as they deal with the inevitable pressure of studies during their first week. At the end of the meeting we provide a mentor for each student, and in most cases this really helps them as they begin their life at the Faculty. The encounter also gives them a chance to start to get to know the other Arab students, so it is also very useful from the social angle.

 

We run training sessions in Arabic, particularly for the first-year compulsory courses. This year we again held our annual training program in constitutional law, contract law, and the theory of law. The sessions are taught by various members of the forum, some of whom are experienced students and others young attorneys who graduated from the Faculty.

 

The forum also holds four evening programs a year when guests from outside the Faculty are invited to discuss a particular legal theme. The goal is to encourage the students to engage in critical thinking and to expand their knowledge of new fields that are not studied at the Faculty. The guests at the evening programs include leading figures from the world of law and the students respond very enthusiastically. Recently, for example, we invited Dr. Rifat Azam from the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya and Attorney Jawad Boulos. Professor Michael Karayanni and Professor Ahmad Natour, who are both lecturers at the Faculty, have also been guests at the programs. Once we even went to the Old City to visit the home of Professor Nadera Shalhoub, another Faculty member.

 

We have our own journal, which is also called Aspirations. The journal appears once a year in Hebrew, and the goal is to encourage Arab students to write articles at a high legal standard and express their opinions on various legal issues. This helps them to develop and improve their legal language and writing skills.

 

When necessary, the forum also represents Arab students in contacts with the Faculty. For example, ahead of the festivals we secure exemptions for students to avoid attendance problems. I want to emphasize that the Faculty is very supportive and helpful. This is my fourth year in the forum, so I’ve had a chance to work with two deans – Professor Barak Medina in the past, and now Professor Yuval Shany. Both of them have always been supportive and encouraging. They welcome every initiative we suggest and provide financial and moral support. I think this is one of the main reasons why the forum is still functioning.

 

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Annual trip outside the Faculty

 

Can you recall any special success stories?
I’ll tell you about a very recent success story. This year we decided to focus in particular on helping Arab students in their third year of studies when they have to find an internship position. Every year Arab students find it difficult to secure an internship, and experience shows that in the past most of them were unable to find a place through the placement system run by the Faculty. This year we decided to take action to change the situation. We arranged a meeting between the students and Professor Yoav Dotan, who is the Faculty member responsible for the placement fair. We also organized a special internship panel for Arab students only. Ten young Arab attorneys and interns came to the event, most of whom are themselves graduates of the Faculty who are working in various legal fields. Each one discussed his own experiences and answered questions from the potential interns. For me the panel stands out as a particularly successful event. We helped the students to prepare for the process, so they were more self-confident when they came to the interviews and they focused on appropriate legal fields. They also underwent training in how to speak during the interviews themselves. In the end the vast majority of the students found an internship in a place where they wanted to work, including some very prestigious areas of the legal field. The Aspirations forum was one of the reasons for this success.

 

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Salaymeh emphasizes that the existence of the forum should not be taken for granted. The forum comprises seven student members and two attorneys who are Faculty graduates. All the members work on a voluntary basis and give willingly of their free time. They are all very creative and enjoy the opportunity to engage in social action and to contribute to the field. The ongoing existence of the forum is particularly impressive since there is no external body that ensures its continued operation. For the past 12 years the forum has proved the good will and faith of its members, and this in itself is surely proof that it makes an important contribution to the Arab students at the Faculty.

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Meeting with Supreme Court Justice Salim Joubran

A Springboard to Private Practice… with a Little Help from the Faculty

A Springboard to Private Practice… with a Little Help from the Faculty

 

The Faculty of Law runs a variety of practical workshops as part of its ongoing effort to help students bridge the gap between theory and practice. Students learn to cope with real cases form the world of law and to understand the importance of small details. 

 

Zohar Drookman

 

Theory is only one side of law studies; many students today are interested in more practical studies. With this in mind, the Faculty has launched an initiative to encourage students to participate in courses of a more practical nature, as part of a broader effort to ensure that its graduates are as well prepared as possible for their entry into the world of practice.

 

This approach is reflected in practical workshops in diverse fields taught by senior attorneys from some of Israel’s leading law firms. The students enjoy an opportunity to become better acquainted with the complex issues encountered in the world of legal practice in areas in which they have a particular interest. The workshops enable the students to learn from the work of experienced attorneys, thereby helping them to bridge the inevitable gap between theory and practice. One of the most popular workshops among the students is the workshop in administrative law in the practical context, taught by attorneys from Agmon & Co. law firm. “Almost all the attorneys in our firm studied at the Hebrew University,” reveals Attorney Ayelet Golomb-Planer, a managing partner in the firm. “We are very fond of the Hebrew University and many of us are interested in teaching. That’s why we were pleased to run the workshop.”

 

Agmon law firm was established by Dr. Mishael Cheshin after he left the State Attorney’s Office and before he was appointed to the Supreme Court. “Cheshin had served as head of the Supreme Court Petitions Department, and he made a real effort to develop the field of administrative law in the firm. That’s why it’s only natural for us to run a workshop in this field,” Attorney Golomb-Planer explains.

 

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Attorney Ayelet Golomb-Planer

How did the idea emerge?
We are Friends of the Faculty, and as a Jerusalem law firm we see this status as both an honor and a duty. We asked Professor Yoav Dotan how we could help and he suggested that we run a workshop. We were only too happy to take him up on his offer.

 

What is special about your workshop?
We address administrative law in practical life from various perspectives. Each partner who runs the workshop adds his or her own angle. Many of the partners had things they wanted to say and were eager to do so – all because of this shared love for the Faculty.

 

What’s the difference between your workshop and “regular studies?”
Our workshops include two key elements. Firstly, the lesson is chock full of examples from real life and we teach the subject by examining cases we have handled. In this way we show how theory meets practice – when the two complement each other, and when they don’t. The second element are the exercises. These aren’t standard academic exercises, but ones that attempt to challenge the students to cope with the same dilemmas we encounter in the practical domain.

 

What are your expectations of the students in the workshop?
First of all – to show an interest. Secondly – to raise doubts: to listen to us all and to try to ask some difficult questions. To see where we got it wrong and to cope with complicated issues. If possible, we also hope they will be involved in real life and bring questions for us to consider.

 

Is this is a preparatory course for practical legal work? 
My law studies didn’t prepare me for legal practice and the studies didn’t even claim to do that. I don’t expect graduates to know how to be attorneys the minute they arrive in my firm. The students should arrive with a good understanding of the law; all the rest happens in the firm. In the final analysis, being a good legal expert is about a way of thinking, a recognition that the world is complex, and analytical capability. For example, when I say something I need to be aware who said the same thing before me, how they phrase it, and how I diagnose it. The students acquire these tools at the Faculty, and these are very important skills.

 

Is there anything that you don’t manage to teach?
The Faculty doesn’t claim to teach students how to persuade others, but how to engage in objective and neutral thought. Neither does it teach them how to cope with officials and bureaucracy. This is an important part of work, particularly in the field of administrative law. It’s important that legal education should be very broad based so that graduates can then go on to learn a profession. The main thing is that students are equipped with legal thinking – that’s the most important thing the Faculty can do to prepare them for the world of practice.

 

Bridging the Gap

 

Another workshop that has gained popularity with the students is the workshop on mergers and acquisitions, which is taught by partners from Meitar law firm. “This is a very important field of work in our firm,” explains Attorney Dan Shamgar, a partner in the firm who runs the workshop. “We are one of the leading law firms in Israel in this field and we have worked on several of the most important deals made in Israel.”

 

Why do you teach the workshop?
There are several reasons. Firstly, the field of mergers and acquisitions is one that I am very well acquainted with in terms of practical experience. This is a very challenging field, and a fascinating one for attorneys who have a business orientation. The young guys I see who have just finished university have acquired a basic infrastructure of law studies, but there is a relatively wide gap between the way law is studied in academia and the way it is implemented in real life. This is true in many fields, of course, but in this particular field I felt that we could bridge this gap and give the students some kind of exposure to the field. By ensuring that they have a deeper understanding, they can move into the world of practice with better skills and start off from a more advanced point.

 

What is the reason for this gap?
This field is based on practice that has been built up over the years in Israel; very little of this is reflected in case law. Accordingly, it is only natural that the usual academic approach cannot really reflect this area. The gap is very significant. On the one hand we have rich, sophisticated, and very progressive practice in legal terms, with a strongly creative and innovative character. On the other, there isn’t a sufficiently strong approach of ensuring access to the real world so that the students can be exposed to this field.”

 

How do the students react to this gap?
They are fascinated by it. You take a group of students who are interested in this field – many of them are studying in a joint track with business management. And you can develop dialogue based on a similar worldview.

 

What do you actually teach in the workshop?
I offer the students a comprehensive review of each of the types of transactions encountered in the market. For each type of transaction, I work together with the students to formulate the logic that lies behind the business structure: the way it helps to realize the parties’ interests. I also expose them to everyday cases that raise all kinds of questions and challenges that we had to solve using the legal tools at our disposal. In the second part of the workshop I change tack a little and we begin to analyze specific transaction documents and to review all the paperwork. This study helps us put into practice the ideas we studied in the first part.

 

What was your impression of the students you taught?
I thought the students were very impressive and cooperative. These weren’t short encounters – each session lasted three hours. But despite this they listened attentively throughout the session and they helped me to create an atmosphere of discussion rather than a frontal lecture. I really enjoyed working with the students. I think my goal was to ensure that at the end of the workshop they felt that had enjoyed an interesting intellectual experience that had sparked their curiosity. My impression is that this is exactly what happened.

 

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Attorney Dan Shamgar

Guest Lecturer: Louis Moreno Ocampo

Guest Lecturer: Louis Moreno Ocampo

A report on the visit to the Faculty by the former Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court

 

Hagai Carmi

Photos: D. Guthrie

 

Louis Moreno Ocampo, the former Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), is no stranger to criticism. At a lecture given by Ocampo in May at the Mount Scopus campus of the Hebrew University, a member of the audience asked whether he agrees that the ICC focuses excessively on Africa. Ocampo’s reply made it obvious that this was not the first time he has been asked this question. “I’ve heard that claim on several occasions. People wonder why we only investigate things that happen in Africa and claim that this is just a new form of imperialism. It always surprises me that they focus on the activities of the ICC, instead of asking why there is so much violence in Africa.” A question regarding the small number of cases heard by the ICC also provokes a ready-made response: “You can’t measure everything just in terms of the number of people prosecuted. The main function of the ICC is not to prosecute people, but to play an active role in creating law and defining laws. As I see it, success should be measured in terms of the definition of clear boundaries for what is permitted and prohibited, rather than in terms of the prosecution of some specific number of war criminals.”

 

The Early Years of the International Criminal Court
Ocampo was invited to Israel as the guest of the Faculty and the Fried-Gal Transitional Justice Initiative, which supports projects under the auspices of the Transitional Justice Program of the Law Faculty and the Minerva Center for Human Rights at the Hebrew University. He gave two lectures during his visit. In the first, entitled “The Challenge of the Early Years in the ICC,” Ocampo described the developments in international law from the Nuremberg trials through the prosecution of the heads of the Argentinian junta, and on to the establishment of the ICC. He argues that the Nuremberg trials had a tremendous influence on the formation of the ICC, since they marked the first time that the possibility was discussed of imposing personal criminal liability as a means of creating a deterrence against crimes and an incentive to keep the peace. The option of criminal prosecution complemented the only two options that had previously been available – going to war or refraining from taking any action.

 

In the early 1990s, after several decades of stalemate due to the Cold War, criminal law once again became a key player in international law with the formation of the tribunals in Yugoslavia and Rwanda. The growing strength of international criminal law led to the drafting of the Rome Statute in July 1998 and to the establishment of a permanent international criminal court – the ICC – in 2002. Ocampo was appointed Prosecutor of the ICC in April 2003 and was forced to confront the difficulties inherent in entering a new position: “When I assumed the position of Prosecutor, the ICC building in The Hague had six empty floors and 18 judges waiting for some work. I had three employees available to assist me, a handful of historical precedents – Nuremberg and the international tribunals – and the provisions of the Rome Statute. Meanwhile, outside in the real world, America was attacking Iraq and President Bush declared that he would not agree to the ratification of the Statute due to concern at possible suits. The international organizations were also suspicious and questioned the capability of the ICC. At this point I had to decide what to do first: consult with others? Establish the court’s infrastructure? Or maybe launch a prosecution – and if so, of whom?” Five months after entering the position, Ocampo announced that he had acquiesced to a request by the Congo to open an investigation into crimes committed in its territory. The investigation ultimately led to the trial of the militia leader Thomas Lubanga – the first trial undertaken by the ICC.

 

Ocampo returned to the subject of the trial of Lubanga in response to a question about the role of victims and their relatives in the legal process. He explained to the audience that the evidence collected in the investigation did not suggest that Lubanga was a central figure in the crimes; his importance was only apparent from the victims’ testimonies. He later admitted that the ability of the ICC to help the victims is limited due to the formal character of the court. A conviction may help victims sue for compensation, but a more comprehensive response to their needs requires intervention by additional bodies. A member of the audience asked Ocampo whether he found it difficult to cope with the traumatic images and stories that form part of his work. He replied that the problem he faced is of a different nature: “The victims I meet are grateful for the attention they receive and appreciate people coming specially to hear their stories. It is not the encounter with the victims that is difficult, but rather the encounter with the world outside the court. It is difficult when I visit New York and face the hypocrisy and insensitivity of those in power. I was told several times during official meetings with ambassadors and senior dignitaries that I am too emotional and that I shouldn’t take things to heart.”



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Ocampo and the Dean of the Faculty, Professor Yuval Shany
(Photos by D Guthrie)

 

Lecture at the Fried-Gal Colloquium on Transitional Justice
“Transitional justice” was the central theme of Ocampo’s second lecture, given the day after his first speech. The lecture formed part of the Fried-Gal Colloquium on Transitional Justice, moderated by Visiting Professor Ruti Teitel, and focused on transitional justice in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Ocampo was serving as the Prosecutor of the ICC at the beginning of 2009 when the Palestinian Authority asked the court to recognize its jurisdiction over incidents in the Palestinian Territories. Three years later his office issued a statement declaring that the request had been rejected. The statement explained that the Palestinian Authority’s status as an independent state remains unclear, and accordingly it cannot assume permanent or ad hoc judicial authority. Following this decision, the Palestinian Authority appealed to the United Nations to be admitted as a member state, and in November 2012 the General Assembly approved the recognition of the Palestinian Authority as a “non-member observer state” by a large majority. In his lecture Ocampo considered what has changed following this recognition. Although he did not state so explicitly, it was clear from his comments that Ocampo believes that the current conditions permit the Palestinian Authority to turn to the ICC: “There are two facts that cannot be ignored. Firstly, the International Criminal Court exists; and secondly, the Palestinian Authority has received the status of an observer state. As future Israeli attorneys, I ask you: what do we do with this? What would you recommend to Israel in such a situation? I don’t necessarily have a good answer to this question, but I hope to encourage you to think seriously about it. Your goal is to put some good options on the table, and in order to do that you first of all have to imagine what the Palestinians are going to do, and then you have to prepare some options according to that scenario.” At this point Ocampo turned to the students in the hall and asked them whether they thought it would be a good move for the Palestinians to turn to the ICC. After hearing several opinions, he offered an optimistic summary: “Although many people in Israel see an appeal to the ICC as a negative development, you should note that the ideal scenario for the Palestinian side also puts Israel in a pretty good position. Accepting the Palestinian Authority’s request and recognizing the ICC’s jurisdiction over the Occupied Territories will very probably lead to pressure to halt violence by Palestinians, since once the ICC enjoys jurisdiction, it is empowered to investigate any violations committed by either side in the conflict. Reducing the level of violence in the framework of the appeal to the ICC is undoubtedly of value to Israel.”

 

 

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Ocampo and Visiting Professor Ruti Teitel at the Fried-Gal Colloquium on Transitional Justice 
(Photos by D Guthrie)

 

Louis Moreno Ocampo was born in Buenos Aires in 1952 and completed his studies at the Faculty of Law in the University of Buenos Aires in 1980. He gained fame as the assistant prosecutor in the “trial of the juntas” pursued several years later and went on to become chief prosecutor of the Buenos Aires federal circuit. Before his appointment as Prosecutor of the ICC, Ocampo established his own law firm and continued to be active in the field of criminal and human rights law. In 2012, after nine years in the position, he retired in order to return to private practice. He also lectures regularly at several universities, including Yale in the US, and serves as an advisor to international non-governmental organizations

 

Ocampo’s period of office as a prosecutor in Argentina shaped his attitude toward an academic filed that was beginning to receive increasing attention at the time: the field of transitional justice. “My encounter with transitional justice did not come through academic research,” he emphasizes, “but through the reality of Argentina in the 1980s, when kidnapping and guerilla warfare were a routine occurrence. I remember that in one indictment I wrote, “the state is forbidden to torture its citizens.” Although this sounds obvious to us today, that sentence became a newspaper headline. The status quo is not always consistent with legal ideals, and in Argentina the gap was particularly wide.”"

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(Photos by D Guthrie)

Students

Students

Renana Herman

 

Name: Tamar Ventura

 

Age: 24

 

Year: 1

 

The facts: Tamar is a gifted musician who devotes time to her singing alongside her law studies. Before applying for university she hoped to combine law and music studies, only to find that this combination does not exist. She is currently focusing solely on her law studies but is considering combining these with another professional field next year.

 

tamar

Why law? “Law is a very broad field that expands your horizons,” Tamar explains. “I think it’s a good combination between a practical vocation and an interesting academic field. I imagine that I will want to work in some public field after I complete my studies, and a law degree seems suited to that kind of position. I had several role models in the legal field. My sister is a law student who is currently studying for her master’s degree and really loves the field. Many of my friends and commanders in the army have also chosen this path. Personally I am still checking things out and getting to know this world. I can see some similarities between the fields of music and law. In law we learn to examine every issue from different angles and perspectives. The same is true in music – when we interpret a song, we illuminate it in a different way, changing the genre or combining it with another song that changes its context. In a broader sense, the two fields are also similar since they both ultimately seek to make people feel good.”

 

A second hearing: Tamar has been singing and playing the piano since she was very young. For the past three years she has been a member of an a cappella ensemble she helped to found. The women-only group is called Makeupella and it performs without musical instruments. The members of the group meet for a weekly rehearsal and perform at various events. Last year Tamar took a six-month break in order to travel to the Far East (“Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Nepal, and India”) before beginning her studies.

 

 

Name: Maytal shaya spivak

 

Age: 23

 

Year: 2

 

The facts: Maytal is studying for a combined degree in law and Jewish Studies. This extra-legal course is similar to a general BA program, but focuses exclusively on departments related to Jewish Studies: Bible, Talmud, Jewish Philosophy, Jewish History, Yiddish, and so forth. Maytal began her studies in the first year by combining law and economics but later decided that she was better suited to the humanities.

 

meital

 

Why law? “When I was very young I wanted to be a judge,” Maytal recalls. “The robe appealed to me and somehow the curly wig, too. It always seemed to be a very dignified job due to the need to decide and determine matters. The television show Ally McBeal also helped attract me to the legal profession. The areas that I find most interesting are criminal law and family law, but my combination with Jewish Studies may ultimately lead me to the area of Jewish law.”

 

A second hearing: Maytal is a student at the university’s Chevruta Jewish study program, which provides a stipend in return for daily studies of the Talmud and Gemara. She is also active in the “Senate Minyan” – a group that is promoting egalitarian prayer services at the university. Contrary to the usual Orthodox practice, this framework enables women to play an integral part in the service and even to lead the prayers. Maytal notes that the group has expanded considerably this year and has attracted many students, both men and women. Maytal was also one of the founders of the “Yerushalmiot” (Jerusalem Women) forum at the university. This is a Feminist student cell that runs panels and other activities on campus in order to raise awareness of women’s rights. “Apart from the panels and activities I organized,” she adds, “I felt that establishing this group was a really important step forward at the university. I’m glad I was a partner in founding and shaping the group.”

 

 

Name: Chen Deri

 

Age: 23

 

Year: 3

 

The facts: Chen is combining her law studies with a humanities program. Her program includes study sections in cognition and in the philosophy of science. She has also embarked on a fast track to a master’s degree, meaning that she should complete her master’s within four years. “I began by focusing on cognition but I realized that I am less interested in research work,” she explains. “I am fascinated by the philosophical side of the subject, which also relates to the world of law.”

 

chen 

Why law? “Legal knowledge gives us more tools for understanding the ‘game.’ You can see this in everyday life – there are all sorts of mundane situation in life that are much easier to understand if you have legal knowledge. I feel that law is also a good way to influence the way we live as a society and the way we define our public domain. I chose a combined program because I believe that in order to be successful in the field of action or in academia you need to be firmly rooted in reality, on the one hand, and to be interdisciplinary, on the other. In other words it is important to be involved in several areas simultaneously and not to shut yourself off in a bubble. I hope to continue in the academic world after completing my current degrees because I love this field and believe in a combination of academia and practice. You don’t suddenly become wise the moment you complete a degree – you have to keep on studying and developing yourself all the time.”

 

 

An additional hearing: Chen is constantly involved in social action and a wide range of activities. For two years she volunteered as a member of the Audit Committee of the Law Student Association. Together with the other committee members, she inspected the union’s work in order to make sure that it was consistent with its constitution. She is also a member of the Clinic for the Social Capital Market, supervised by Professor Hamdani, which also embodies the combination of the commercial and social worlds through social business projects. Chen works in the Claims and Outsourcing Department of the State Attorney’s Office. This is a relatively unknown unit (“but a cool one that I really recommend”) that initiates legal claims on the state’s behalf. Examples of the unit’s work include a claim submitted against the Dead Sea Works and the clearing of beaches and areas of land. Chen reports that the unit is a good place for an intern and deserves greater recognition in this context. When she has a little time on her hands she enjoys working as a wine taster at festivals around Israel for Ramat Hagolan Wineries. As for her next move: next year she will begin an internship at Fischer, Behar, Chen & Co. Good luck to her!

 

 

 

Name: Tzlil hudady

 

Age: 24

 

Year: 3

 

The facts: Tzlil is combining her law studies with a teaching certificate in civics. She explains that “civics studies are related to legal themes such as constitutional law, so this track is particularly suited to law students.” She adds that she is the only student in her year who has chosen this combination; four students in previous years studied the two subject.

 

tslil

Why law? “I used to think I was going to study architecture, but after I returned from a trek in South America I decided to opt for law. The main reason was that this is an area that combines many different fields, such as medicine (medical negligence) or patents (intellectual property) or any other field where you can find a legal niche. I chose to include teaching studies after reaching a turning point at the end of my first year of law studies. Someone came into the classroom at the end of a lesson and told us about the teaching certificate track. I remembered my rich experience in teaching and my love for the profession and I decided to combine the two areas. There’s a good chance that in the end I will be an attorney rather than a teacher, but I’m still glad for the chance to gain experience in another area. It can’t do any harm.”

 

An additional hearing: “This year I am working in the Clinic for the Rights of People with Disabilities. My team was given a file of a person with a hearing disability who can hear normally thanks to a hearing aid. This person has submitted numerous resumes in an effort to find work in a large company, but so far he has not been accepted. We are preparing a statement of claim in which the main argument is of discrimination in the workplace on the grounds of disability. Over the past few years I have also volunteered in the Jerusalem Methadone Center on behalf of the Breira Center. This facility provides methadone as a substitute for drugs. The people who come there used to be addicted to hard drugs and even now they cannot completely free themselves from drugs. The center gives them methadone as an alternative in a fixed dose and for a limited period. Naturally these people tend to deal with a lot of bureaucratic and legal problems. So we come to the center and they can consult with us on legal issues. The main problems we encountered involved debts and the executor’s office. I came as a volunteer without any background in the field, but during the course of my work I began to learn more about the subject.”

The Institute for Jewish Law Celebrates Its Fiftieth Anniversary

The Institute for Jewish Law Celebrates Its Fiftieth Anniversary

 

Dr. Benny Porat, the director of the Faculty’s Institute for Jewish Law, believes that this field still has much to offer. As it marks its fiftieth anniversary, the Institute is more active than ever. It sponsors two well-regarded journals, holds conferences with a unique atmosphere of their own, maintains postgraduate degree programs, and provides an extensive library for students, researchers, and legal experts. And it still has time to plan for the future.

 

Renana Herman

 

The Israel Matz Institute for Jewish Law this year celebrated its fiftieth anniversary. The Institute was established in 1963 by Supreme Court Deputy President Menachem Elon z”l, and is now headed by Dr. Benny Porat. To mark the jubilee celebrations we asked Dr. Porat a few questions about the Institute.

 

Dr. Porat, could you tell us what the Institute for Jewish Law actually does?
This is the leading institute in its field and the only one in Israel that meets international standards. It serves as a center for research into Jewish law. A generation of leading Jewish law scholars grew up in the Institute and the most important studies were written under its auspices.

 

The Institute’s overriding goal, of course, was to promote research into Jewish law. It’s important to remember that the Hebrew University offered law studies before the Faculty of Law was even established. The two core legal fields on which the Faculty was based when it was established in 1949 were Jewish law and international law. Accordingly, it was only natural that the Faculty would become a flagship for research and teaching in the field of Jewish law. This is indeed what transpired, and the Institute has served as the main tool to this end.

 

Today the Institute is undergoing a changing of the guards. A generation of lecturers and scholars has retired or is about to retire. The last faculty member from the generation of the “founding fathers” is Professor Berachyahu Lifshitz. Nevertheless, we naturally continue to welcome the ongoing work of retired faculty members who continue to be active in the Institute. We are striving to build the new generation. I am one of those involved, and next year we will be joined by Professor David Flatto, who has moved to Israel from the US in order to join us here at the Institute. Professor Flatto will also be teaching a course and a seminar here next year. We are looking forward to welcoming him to the Institute and hope to continue to expand our ranks.

 

We’ve heard about the Tzova Conferences that have been held in recent years. What happens at these gatherings?
The Institute initiated the Tzova Conferences several years ago. The conferences address various aspects relating to Jewish law and are held as a cooperative venture of the Faculties of Law at the Hebrew University, Tel Aviv University, and Bar Ilan University. These conferences differ from regular academic gatherings in two respects. The first is their demographic profile. Each conference focuses on the interface between Jewish law and another field and seeks to bring together Jewish law scholars and scholars from another field of general law. The next conference, for example, will be devoted to the subject of Jewish Law and Contract Law. We hope to bring together leading general scholars in the field and Jewish law scholars and to see what happens when they sit at one table and try to illuminate the general field with specifically Jewish law insights.

 

Another unique feature of the conference, as befits the field of Jewish law, is that the deliberations focus on study of the primary sources of Jewish law. A significant portion of the conference follows the Beit Midrash (“House of Study”) style: The participants sit down to study texts in small groups, including issues from the Talmud, from Maimonides, and from other Jewish law sources. Alongside frontal lectures, the conference also includes a section when the participants study and prepare for the lectures. This ensures that the participants are better prepared for the lecture and have already had a chance to form their own opinions, so that they can challenge or support particular arguments.

 

What other activities does the Institute provide?
We invest heavily in the field of research into Jewish law. The Institute publishes books and research projects, including two journals. The Jewish Law Yearbook is our longstanding journal and this year marked its fortieth anniversary. The Yearbook is one of the leading journals in the field of Jewish law and appears annually, which is a relatively high frequency in this field. It is devoted to the field of Jewish law in the broadest sense, including both the classical areas of this field and related areas of Jewish studies – research into the Talmud, Jewish philosophy, and history, insofar as these areas relate to Jewish law. We also strive to provide a platform for Faculty students who write outstanding papers, theses, or doctorates and to publish these works in the Yearbook. We also recently assumed responsibility for the publication of the international English-language Jewish Law Annual.

 

An additional field the Institute nurtures is that of postgraduate degrees in Jewish law. Two years ago we revived our master’s degree program in Jewish law, and we have been pleased to see that this is a very attractive and successful program. We currently have between 10 and 12 students in the program and we hope to expand it still further over the coming years.

 

The library is another important feature of the Institute. Our library houses a uniquely rich and diverse collection relating to all aspects of Halachic literature, research into Jewish law, and ancillary literature. It is the most important library in its field in Israel and is also unique on the international level. Students, researchers, and legal experts all enjoy the library’s services.

 

Can you share any interesting news from behind the scenes at the Institute?
This isn’t one of our most recent activities, but one of the Institute’s most important activities several decades ago was the response index project. The Jewish response constitute a tremendous literary genre whose wealth and diversity are almost unimaginable. When we began the project there was no way to grapple with the endless ocean of material in this field. Professor Menachem Elon initiated the response index project, in whose framework numerous researchers reviewed the literature item by item and classified them according to source, historical context, and legal questions. The project’s outcome appeared in several volumes that allow anyone who wishes to do so to research this literature by a given topic or source and quickly to find what they are looking for.

 

In an ironic twist of fate, two other researchers also embarked on a project to develop a response project at the same time. Their project, which was adopted by Bar Ilan University, followed a similar technology but employed digital media. Their project has been extremely successful. Our own project was a tremendous initiative based on a great vision, but it relied on hard human graft rather than technology. With hindsight we lost out, and the public now credits the scholars from Bar Ilan for the success of the response project.

 

In closing, a question that will interest many readers who do not come from the field of Jewish law. Do you believe that study of Jewish law is still relevant today, despite the fact that no legal system follows this school? Is it important to promote and develop this field?
That’s the million dollar question! I’ll try to tell you in a nutshell how I look at this issue and why I believe that Jewish law is still important. Firstly, if we examine Israeli law from the proper perspective, we will find that Jewish law has exerted a much stronger influence that most people tend to imagine. Jewish law has had a decisive impact on Israeli law, and if we removed the Jewish phrases and institutions from the latter we would be left with a partial and inadequate system. Countless phrases and terms in Israeli law are drawn from the language of Jewish law. These include the usual terms used today for unjust enrichment and for bankruptcy. Various issues in Israeli law, such as the imprisonment of debtors, have been influenced linguistically or substantively by Jewish law.

In addition, Jewish law functions as the “other.” It offers legal experts a chance to think outside the box and consider other options. These options may not always be suitable for implementation and absorption, but they are thought provoking and challenge accepted axioms and concepts. Jewish law is a friend that has accompanied Israeli law since its inception. Sometimes we listen to its advice and sometimes we reject its position – but it is always there, accompanying and adding greater depth to Israeli law.

 hebLaw

Students in the library of the Institute for Jewish Law

Vol. 18

 

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Vol. 18 January 2015

 

 

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Alumni Meetings
-Sapir Dayan-

This year, the Faculty held four particularly moving class reunions, one of which received extensive media coverage. The reason: one of the alumni was President-Elect Reuven (Ruvi) Rivlin, who attended the event just two days after his election.
Read More...

 

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It’s All Hebrew to Me
-Renana Herman-

Every student faces some difficulties adapting to academic life during their first year at the Faculty of Law. But the difficulties are amplified for students whose first language is not Hebrew. Difficulties writing papers and reading and understanding legal language are sometimes accompanied by challenges in the area of social and cultural adaption. The mentoring project for students whose first language is not Hebrew offers a broad-based response to these difficulties. The results on the ground speak for themselves.

Read More...

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The Faculty of Law’s Lifetime Achievement Award
-Renana Herman-
The Faculty’s Lifetime Achievement Award for 2014 was presented to Professor Yaakov Neeman in a moving ceremony held in June in the presence of leading figures from the Israeli legal world. “Professor Neeman was a natural choice for the award given his prominent role in the profession, the law firm he founded, and his numerous achievements in the public sphere,” commented Professor Yoav Dotan, one of the academics who initiated the ceremony. We met the recipient of the award for an exclusive interview in the hope of providing some inspiration for current and future practitioners in the legal field.

 
Read More...

 

 
 
 
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Short meetings with faculty students
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Dr. Guy Pessach
 

How will childhood experiences be documented in our collective memory, and why is this question related to copyright law? How is Google exploiting the free culture movement to enhance its own economic strength and market share? Dr. Guy Pessach offers some insight into the issues being examined by researchers in the fields of copyright, law and technology, and media law.
Read More...

 
 
 
Editor: Ronen Polliack
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Faculty of Law - All Rights Reserved

Alumni Meetings

Alumni Meetings

 

This year, the Faculty held four particularly moving class reunions, one of which received extensive media coverage. The reason: one of the alumni was President-Elect Reuven (Ruvi) Rivlin, who attended the event just two days after his election. 

 

-Sapir Dayan-

 

As part of a project launched this year by Dean Professor Yuval Shany, the Faculty will be holding class reunions every year for alumni marking the round anniversary of their graduation (40 years, 50 years, and so forth). The goal of the project is to renew the connection between the alumni and the university. This year, reunions were held for the classes of 1964, 1974, 1984, and 2004.

 

The reunion of the class of 1964 was a “star-studded” occasion. In addition to President Reuven Rivlin, participants also included Professor Yaakov Neeman, Hagai Sitton, Matti Golan, Amiram Safran, Micah Yinon, and other prominent public figures and members of the Israeli business community. Although the timing seemed too good to be true, the organizers of the event confirmed that they were as surprised as anyone else to discover that one of the participants would be the tenth president of the State of Israel, and that he would come to the reunion just two days after his election to the position. As Rivlin and his former classmates celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of their graduation, he shared some of his experiences from his student days: “Every year I was awarded a prize, and like a true Jerusalemite I felt a little ashamed about it. But what could I do? I was a bit of a nerd. I took my studies very seriously. But I was certainly involved in extracurricular activities, too.” When asked whether he would have believed that his class would produce a state president, Rivlin replied: “I had lots of friends who I thought could become president.”

 

 

 

Class of 1964

Class of 1964
Credit: Bruno Charbit

 

Professor Yaakov Neeman was asked how he felt when he heard that his classmate had been elected president. Neeman explained that he “felt bad when Rivlin was not elected to the position last time, but I said that it would happen eventually, and thank God it did. We were good friends – not only during our studies, but afterwards too. And now he is president. I can’t declare that I am a friend of the president – it’s more than that. I am moved that a classmate of mine has reached the pinnacle of Israeli democracy.” Neeman recalled that Rivlin was “an excellent student, pleasant, and very friendly. We used to sit in the library together and enjoy the classes and exercises.”

 

 

 

 

with the president

Right: Prof. Neeman, President Reuven (Ruvi) Rivlin and Micha Yinon
Credit: Nery Pinkwasser

 

The reunion of the class of 1974 was also a very successful event, attended by an impressive collection of alumni, although not by the most famous graduate of that year, former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. The reunion of the class of 1984 was attended by some 40 alumni, including judges, legal experts, and prominent lawyers. Some of the alumni are now the proud parents of students at the Faculty of Law. No fewer than 50 alumni attended the reunion of the class of 2004.

 

The reunions were held in Beit Maiersdorf on the campus. Each event included a tour of the Mt. Scopus campus, keynote speeches by the Dean of the Faculty and other Faculty members, an informal supper, and plenty of free time to share reminiscences with former classmates. During the tour of the campus, the alumni visited familiar spots from their studies as well as the new campus buildings, which most of them had not seen before. They recalled that in their day the campus was “nothing but pillars and tents,” whereas today’s students enjoy luxurious conditions. The highpoint of each reunion was an open microphone session, when one alumnus after another recalled their student days, “The moment I entered the university gates just now with my wife, I told her that I suddenly feel 30 years older,” one alumnus confessed. “Everything looks different and new. But as we all started to chat about our experiences, I noticed that some of the people talking are in the 20s, and I felt 30 years younger.”

 

The alumni were very impressed by the various projects initiated by the Faculty, and particularly by the emphasis on social responsibility. Dr. Einat Albin and Dr. Yuval Albashan attended the various reunions and described the unique work of the Legal Clinic, the social power of law, and the desire of today’s Faculty students to be active on social issues, just as in the past. One alumna noted that most of her classmates had chosen the path of public service – not by way of a default, but thanks to the influence of the Faculty, the lecturers, and their friends. No other law faculty in Israel shows this level of public commitment, which is a justifiable source of pride.

Class of 1974

Class of 1974
Credit: Mel Brickman

 

Over the past two years, the Faculty has taken a number of steps to renew its connection with alumni, in response to requests from the former students themselves. Issues of “The Faculty” are sent to alumni, contact lists have been updated, and the new Alumni Club has been established, with the goal of reviving connections with the thousands of members of the legal profession who attended the Faculty. During the preparations for the reunions, one of the hardest tasks was to locate the addresses and the new names of some of the graduates, since the database was seriously outdated. The students who performed this task commented that some of their telephone calls lasted half an hour due to the alumni’s desire to hear what was happening at the Faculty and how today’s students are enjoying their experience. The large majority of the alumni were delighted to renew their connection with the Faculty, and as noted the reunions were a great success.

 

 

Class of 1984

Class of 1984
Credit: Yonatan Zindel

 

 

Dean Professor Yuval Shany, who initiated the project, emphasizes that the connections are important both to the Faculty and to the alumni themselves. “Many alumni are looking for this connection. They understand how important it is that the Faculty continue to serve as an institution of excellence and they are happy to get involved. They follow what we are doing, come to teach at the Faculty, take on students as interns, and offer financial support. The Faculty gave its alumni a strong foundation for their entry into legal activity, and we hope that they will now help us to provide today’s students with a foundation that is at least as strong. Legal education today is a more complex, expensive, and multidisciplinary task. It demands more diverse skills, and we will be delighted for alumni to accompany and support us as we train new generations of students.”

 

In his speech, the Dean pointed out that the Faculty of Law at the Hebrew University is a brand. “Like any other brand, maintaining its reputation is a valuable goal. The alumni of the university have individual and collective strength. Ten thousand alumni of the Faculty form the backbone of the Israeli legal world and can be found in senior positions throughout Israeli society. They are an asset, and in today’s academic reality the Faculty cannot afford to ignore them. We are very proud that the Faculty has trained outstanding alumni who are making a real contribution to the nation.”

It’s All Hebrew to Me

It’s All Hebrew to Me

 

Every student faces some difficulties adapting to academic life during their first year at the Faculty of Law. But the difficulties are amplified for students whose first language is not Hebrew. Difficulties writing papers and reading and understanding legal language are sometimes accompanied by challenges in the area of social and cultural adaption. The mentoring project for students whose first language is not Hebrew offers a broad-based response to these difficulties. The results on the ground speak for themselves.

 

-Renana Herman-

 

Atalia Markowitz

“When I started my first year, I didn’t have laptop,” recalls Atalia Markowitz, a student at the Faculty who immigrated to Israel from the Netherlands after finishing high school. “I used to stay late at the university every day writing papers. After all the libraries closed, I would to the computers in the corridor until 10 p.m. One day I called Tom, my mentor, in tears because I wasn’t even close to finishing my paper. It was the middle of winter, but he came over at 11 p.m. to encourage me with a cup of hot tea. It was really charming.”

 

The mentoring project for students whose first language is not Hebrew was established nine years ago on the initiative of Professor Eyal Zamir. It was initially run by Dr. Adam Hofri-Winogradow, and now Professor Guy Harpaz with the assistance of Keren Ben-Zvi  are responsible for the academic management of the program. The project receives funding from the Gilbert Foundation and provides support for about 25 students a year.

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Atalia Markowitz

 

The goal is to help students with language difficulties, and in some cases cultural and social difficulties, to make it through their first year at the Faculty of Law. “We try to identify in advance first-year students whose level of Hebrew is limiting their ability to realize their potential,” Professor Harpaz explains. “In most cases, these students are new immigrants or come from the Arab sector. Before the beginning of the academic year, we identify about 15 outstanding mentors who offer a combination of academic ability and strong emotional intelligence. During the orientation days we gather the new students who are suited to the project and match them up with mentors. After that it all depends on the chemistry between the mentor and the mentee. The mentees have their mentor’s telephone number and can meet with them or even send papers for them to look over before submitting them. The project offers a meaningful support system at no cost. I would be glad if more first-year students took advantage of the opportunity.”

 

The mentors’ perspective
Atalia Perry, a student at the Faculty who is working as a mentor in the project for the second year, offers some more insights into the work: “The goal is to help the student understand court rulings, read them, and write papers. We try to provide the basic skills that are much easier for students with strong capabilities in Hebrew to develop. The mentoring includes face-to-face meetings as well as help in proofreading and drafting before the submission of papers. At the beginning of the year I meet with the mentee to provide some tips and suggestions and to coordinate our expectations. After that, I work according to the mentee’s interests and the papers he or she needs to submit. Some mentees ask for a regular weekly meeting, while others prefer to contact me on as-needed basis.”

 

Although the project focuses mainly on academic support, students with social difficulties have a particularly strong need for the mentor’s support, and the mentoring relationship extends into other areas. Atalia explains: “I always emphasize that they should feel free to talk to me about any matter, not only academic problems. The idea is to facilitate their adaptation in general. I also encourage them to find study partners when they need to write papers, which I believe helps them both socially and academically.” She notes that the level of Hebrew varies considerably. “I speak to all of them in Hebrew, but some mentees have a poor command of the language, while others face problems mainly when it comes to style and grammar. I can see the gaps particularly clearly when I proofread their papers. The linguistic level can seriously impair the quality of the paper. Usually the mentoring relationship is more intensive at the beginning of the year, after which the students learn to get by without our support. Sometimes I even experience empty nest syndrome.”

 

Atalia Perry

The mentees’ perspective 
“From my standpoint it was amazing,” Markowitz recalls. “It helped me so much. When I began my studies I found legal language very difficult. On top of that we had long reading lists and lots of papers to write. I am not used to reading Hebrew and my vocabulary isn’t particularly large, so it took me a long time. I also found it hard to plan my time. I knew things weren’t going to be easy before I began, but I didn’t understand just how hard it would get.” Markowitz claims that “the two mentors they matched me up with saved me. For the first six months my mentor was Tom, a student at the Faculty. He coped with my crying and provided emotional support during crises. Later in the year, after I had begun to get used to things, Na’ama mentored me and provided intensive support proofreading my papers. As the year progressed I began to understand how things work and I didn’t get so stressed. Naturally the mentoring relationship became less intensive and we mainly communicated by phone. I sent papers to Na’ama for her to check the spelling and style. In my second year Na’ama officially continued to work as my mentor, but I felt less need to send her drafts of my papers. Thanks to the support I received, I felt that I’d reached the point where I had the tools to do it by myself.”

ataliaPeri2

Atalia Perry

 

The first steps were the hardest. Markowitz is convinced that “without the mentors’ corrections, my grades would have been significantly lower. Apart from that, not everyone can check a paper in law. The language differs from other fields and it takes a long time to proofread material, so I didn’t feel comfortable asking for help from people outside the Faculty. In this respect the project was very useful for me and helped me make real progress.”

 

Impressive achievements and success stories
“The project was developed in response to statistics showing a relatively high dropout rate among immigrant students, and even more so among Arab students,” Professor Harpaz explains. “The impression was that they faced not only academic difficulties, but also additional difficulties relating to their age, level of maturity, and distinct social identity. In the past the project received considerable financial backing and we were also able to fund social activities, a scholarship for outstanding students, and a scholarship based on economic criteria. Today the assistance is more modest and we concentrate mainly on academic assistance. We are aware of the additional problems, however, and we do our best to provide a holistic response.

Professor Harpaz adds that the project has scored some impressive achievements. “In many respects we are a university-wide leader in this field. Any time the Dean of Students, other faculties, or the student union want to introduce a similar project they come to learn from our experience.

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Professor Guy Harpaz
Credit: D Guthrie
 

Unfortunately, some mentees don’t take full advantage of the project. This is a pity, because they have access to a high-quality, committed, ideological, and value-based service that provides tailor-made assistance free of charge. Personally I would like them to make more use of our outstanding mentors.” Harpaz notes that they have been some exceptional success stories. “Several women students from the Former Soviet Union came to the Faculty one year. During their first week of studies they could hardly string a sentence together in Hebrew. Eventually they graduated with averages that I’m not sure I would be able to get today. Unfortunately, this is the exception rather than the rule. I can’t claim that our mentees form the majority of the names of the Dean’s list of outstanding students. Even so, we have our success stories and some students receive very meaningful help. The bottom line is that we are satisfied with the project’s outcomes.”

Students

Students

-Sapir Dayan-

 

Name: Michal Goren

 

Age: 31

 

Year: 4

 

The facts: Michal, a native Jerusalemite, has been at the university for a decade, although she can already see the light at the end of the tunnel. She began in the humanities, studying for a combined degree in philosophy and general literature. She continued on to a master’s course, spent a considerable amount of time in Berlin thanks to generous scholarships, but realized that this is where she belongs. Michal was active on various issues and showed a remarkable sense of rhythm when she played the drum at demonstrations. She has now decided to put her energy into law studies – not to gain fame or riches, but in order to achieve social and political change. she hopes to finish her degree this year, thereby ending her long romance with Mt. Scopus. On the other hand, a master’s degree could be a tempting option… Let’s see how she survives her internship first.

 

michal

Why law? “In my studies in the Faculty of Humanities, I learned a lot about Feminism and post-colonialism. We discussed political theories that are very important to me. I felt that I had a strong theoretical foundation, but that the most I could do would be to take part in internal debates within my academic discipline. I had never imagined that I might study law, but a good friend of mine considered switching to law after completing his doctorate in literature. I decided not to wait that long. At first I saw law as no more than a technical instrument, but soon I realized what an interesting Faculty this is, including many practical courses and areas of contact between the university and the community, such as the clinics and the Minerva Center. I think that’s wonderful.”

 

A second hearingMichal is the mother of Racheli, an adorable baby whose cheeks are familiar to all Michal’s classmates. Michal works and also volunteers (last year in the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel, and this year in Ir Amim). Superwoman is putting it mildly. ‘It’s not easy being a mother and a student,” she confesses. “The university isn’t really set up to deal with mothers, and unfortunately it doesn’t provide an adequate support system. But the Faculty of Law itself has been very helpful and has provided support and encouragement. I had my baby at the end of my second year, just after the exams. The other students were really helpful – they sent lesson summaries and helped me prepare for the examinations. The lecturers were also as flexible as possible and the secretariat gave me special concessions. Thanks to everyone’s support, I was surprised by how well I did in the exams. I couldn’t have done it without all this help.”

 

 

Name: Rama Raveh

 

Age: 47

 

Year: 4

 

The facts: Rama is married and has three children. One fine day, she left her attractive job as a CFO in an international company, set goodbye to suits and meetings with the wealthy, and decided to pursue her dream of going back to university to study law. It may all be a matter of genetics: Rama’s eldest daughter, who is 22, followed in her footsteps and embarked on a law degree this year. Maybe Rama will end up offering her daughter an internship.

 

rama

 

Why law? “For me, it’s about completing a circle. As a young student I really wanted to study law but it didn’t work out. I chose economics instead, which means that I’ve spent most of my life dealing with numbers. I always knew that if I ever decided to make a change, it would be to study law. I’m glad that I had a chance to change direction and do something I always longed to do.”

 

A second hearing“I came to the Faculty with a sense of dread that had accompanied me since I studied economics. University always seemed to me to be frightening and threatening place, vast and complex. I didn’t know how to find my way around and it was difficult to get the study materials I needed. People would tear the pages out of books to prevent others photocopying them. For me, studying at the Faculty of Law has been a corrective experience.

 

“The atmosphere at the Faculty is great. People are really serious. I enjoy the students’ knowledge and the questions they ask, the lecturers, and the way everyone cooperates. People are happy to put in a good word and to help, whether on Facebook or Dropbox. The secretaries are very helpful and give you the feeling that there’s someone there for you to talk to. Today’s students don’t understand how hard it was to study in the past and how easy things are now. They should be grateful – it isn’t something to take for granted.”

 

Rama is one of the outstanding students at the Faculty. She has never retaken an examination yet has an average that most of us could only dream of. She puts it all down to her age: “Studying at my age is a completely different experience. You aren’t studying because you have to, but because you want to. The result is that I find myself in the role of the class nerd. I read all the optional study material and articles and I come to every class – simply because I find it interesting.”

 

 

 

 

Name: Uri Gabbai

 

Age: 26

 

Year: 4

 

The facts: Uri is studying for his bachelor’s degree in law alongside a master’s in business management, with a specialization in financing. But the pressure of two degree courses evidently wasn’t enough, because he is also working in a student position in the Ministry of Justice. In his spare time, he serves as a teaching assistant. “I decided to study business management in the second year of my law degree. I didn’t choose it so that I could work in the field in the future, but rather to enrich my general knowledge on the academic level. I guess I’m less scared of numbers than the average law student.”

 

uri 

Why law? “Before I began to study I thought a lot about what subject to choose, but I never even considered law. It may seem strange, but the truth is that I was looking for a good reason to move to Jerusalem. After looking into the matter, I realized that the Faculty of Law is the best at the university, but I didn’t meet the admission requirements. After setting myself the goal of “law at the Hebrew U,” I retook the psychometric test and fortunately I got a good enough score to get in.”

 

An additional hearing“During my studies I’ve had a chance to get to know how the state works through my student position in the Ministry of Justice. More than once I’ve found myself sitting in important committees discussing issues on the national agenda, such as the Consultative Committee for Refugees, the Judicial Appointments Committee, the Committee to Select Public Representatives in Labor Courts, and so forth. I’ve had a chance to see for myself how the government works on these issues. I think that gaining practical legal experience before you begin your internship really helps you to understand the legal profession (not to mention that extra line on your resume). Since I’m considering working in the civil service in the future (although my internship will be in a private law firm), the position was also an important opportunity to get to know that environment.”

 

 

 

Name: Omri Tancman

 

Age: 26

 

Year: 4

 

The facts: In his first year Omri began to study a combined degree in law and international relations, but he quit international relations after just a week and a half due to a lack of interest. “Later in the year I began to feel that a single-track degree in law wasn’t enough for me, and I started to look for another subject to combine with law from my second year. I was accepted to the Amirim-Ruach program (for excellence in the humanities) and I have continued with this combination. The Amirim course combines many different disciplines and makes a serious investment in the students. It’s an excellent opportunity to broaden your horizons and to touch all kinds of interesting areas that you don’t encounter in law studies.” Omri is one of the busiest students at the Faculty, but last semester he took a break from us to participate in a student exchange program in Vancouver. We miss you, Omri!

 

omri

Why law? “There aren’t any lawyers in my family and I didn’t sit glued to legal dramas on television as a child. It wasn’t obvious from the start that I would study law. It was an informed decision, and my goal was to choose a practical field of study that emphasizes the use of language and offers a real challenge. When I tried to imagine my future career, it was important to me that I could use my abilities to help people and to influence society. Law studies fitted in well with that profile. I’m interested in looking at how societies shape themselves, and I feel that law has an important role to play in this process. That’s why it’s an important and worthwhile subject to study.”

 

An additional hearing“Last year I took part in the Women’s Rights in the Workplace Clinic, which is run by Attorney Tammy Katsabian and Professor Guy Davidov. During my work in the clinic, I was involved (together with two other students from my year, Dorit Hamberg and Sodia Cohen) in preparing the first model of its kind in Israel for a collective agreement to promote gender equality in the workplace. The work on the project was fascinating – we got to read dozens of collective agreements, articles, acts of legislation, and court rulings on the subject, and we got to meet workers’ organizations in the field. That helped us understand which clauses were more important and which mattered less, and what aspects could realistically be included in the model. The model is already starting to be developed independently in several places.” Omri participated in one of the clinics that could be particularly challenging for male students, but he survived to tell his story. “Being the only man in a legal clinic where all the other members are women might sound strange or even frightening to some people. But I never had the feeling that I had to represent men as a whole before a bunch of Feminists. The lessons were a very positive experience, and with a handful of exceptions there wasn’t any friction on the basis of gender.”

The Faculty of Law’s Lifetime Achievement Award

The Faculty of Law’s Lifetime Achievement Award

 

The Faculty’s Lifetime Achievement Award for 2014 was presented to Professor Yaakov Neeman in a moving ceremony held in June in the presence of leading figures from the Israeli legal world. “Professor Neeman was a natural choice for the award given his prominent role in the profession, the law firm he founded, and his numerous achievements in the public sphere,” commented Professor Yoav Dotan, one of the academics who initiated the ceremony. We met the recipient of the award for an exclusive interview in the hope of providing some inspiration for current and future practitioners in the legal field.

 

-Renana Herman-
Photos: Yair Meyuhas

 

Professor Neeman, after an impressive ceremony celebrating your extensive work in the legal sphere, let’s begin with a rather banal question: Did you plan a career in law from an early age?
Not at all. I wanted to study medicine and I even enrolled for medical studies. But my parents told me: “If you study medicine, you’ll never have a moment’s peace. Choose law, instead. You’ll be able to take a siesta during the day and have time to go out to concerts and cafés.” In fact, I later discovered that as a lawyer I never had a moment’s peace. Once I’d decided to switch to law, I threw myself into it. I was very busy. I used to get back from work or from a class at university and sit down to review the material we’d studied. I don’t remember a single evening when I went to bed before midnight.”

 

Tell us about your first steps as a lawyer.
I was living in Tel Aviv at the time and married with two daughters. I opened an office in my living room in a three-room apartment. After I provided consultation for my first client, I remember how proud I was when I gave him a receipt for the fee. He went into the bathroom, tore up the receipt, and told me: “Attorney Neeman, if you work with receipts you won’t get far.” I replied: “I’m sorry, but that’s how I was raised. I’m not willing to work any other way.” After I was appointed director-general of the Ministry of Finance in 1979, he called to congratulate me. He also apologized for his comment years before. “I’ve just got out of jail after serving nine months for tax offenses. I guess you were right.”

 

I worked on my own out of the office in my home for several years, until in 1972 Attorney Chaim Herzog and Attorney Michael Fox made me an offer. They wanted to open a law firm concentrating mainly on multinational deals between foreign companies that come to Israel and Israeli companies that are interested in investing abroad. In July 1972 we opened an office in the Shalom Tower in Tel Aviv. We had three rooms and one secretary. Chaim’s wife Ora was responsible for the furniture.

 

Later we began to employ interns. We developed a system based on bottom-up growth: we took on outstanding interns as lawyers, and after four to six years they could join us as partners. Another important principle we established was that those who join us as partners do not have to pay anything toward the firm’s assets. This method helped us grow and today we have about 230 attorneys and several dozen interns. We really grew from the bottom up.

 

What values and qualities do you think led to your success and are vital for a good lawyer?
First of all – people skills. It’s important to look the person you are dealing with straight in the eye, not from above or below. That’s the most important thing. A second principle is to be true to yourself and not to say anything that you know is untrue. Unfortunately, many lawyers fail to respect this principle. Thirdly, one of the main reasons for the firm’s success is the value of friendship. We don’t have ranks or a sense of hierarchy in the firm. When I was the director of the firm, no-one called me “Mr. Director,” and after I became a senior partner no-one called me “senior partner” or “founding partner.” They simply called me Yaakov. We also have a tradition of not wearing ties when we walk around the office in order to avoid an excessive sense of self-importance. When we cross the road to the court, we have no choice and we put a black tie on. It’s very important to encourage a collegial atmosphere among all the lawyers, interns, and clerics and we work hard to create that atmosphere in our firm.

 

Later you moved over to the public sector. Which sector gave you a stronger sense of satisfaction and achievement?
I’d always been interested in public affairs. Back in 1972, as well as working in my firm, I served as a member of various public committees discussing tax issues, education, and so forth. In September 1979, Eli Hurvitz, with whom I was already acquainted, told me that he wanted me to take on the position of director-general of the Ministry of Finance. I told him that I had my own law firm and didn’t need the position. He replied: “I wasn’t asking you.” Three days later, the government appointed me to the position. I spent two years in the position. I don’t have to tell you that there’s quite a difference between a public salary and a private one, but I had enough savings and I wasn’t worried. I felt that I was serving the public and that gave me a great sense of satisfaction.

 

 

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Professor Yaakov Neeman receiving the Award from Professor Aharon Barak 

 

Turning to less personal matters, what is your opinion of the procedure for the selection of judges?
The most important thing is to focus on the person themselves. You shouldn’t appoint someone because of political pressure or because some judge is demanding that you do so. It’s also important that those involved in making the decisions should not have any personal interest in the matter. Thirdly, it’s worth making an effort to secure consensus on the Judicial Selection Committee. When I was a member of the committee, I tried to reach understandings and agreements with all the other members. Sometimes it needed some work using the game theory, but the bottom line was in my time all the decisions regarding Supreme Court justices were agreed by all nine members of the committee. I’m glad that we worked that way.

 

Another important piece of advice: don’t gossip, don’t give interviews, and don’t talk to the media. Everything should be done modestly, honestly, and on the basis of mutual understanding. I’ll give you a good example. Just before the Judicial Selection Committee was due to meet, a newspaper headline proclaimed: “The meeting will not take place, and if it does – the committee will not choose a single judge.” That very morning the committee appointed four judges by an unanimous decision. How can that happen? Because I held discussions behind the scenes with the committee members in order to build a consensus. Consensus is the best way to go. When a judge is appointed by a unanimous decision of the committee, that means that they enjoy full confidence and it shows that it wasn’t the result of individual pressure and that no-one was trying to promote a different candidate.

 

What do you think the solution is to the problem of overload in the courts?
The overload of work in the courts is terrible and everyone shares the blame. Firstly, the fact that the courts do not impose real expenses on the losing party means that any individual or insurance company that is sued has an interest in dragging the trial on for years. Those who lose out from this are usually the weaker members of society. I’ve talked to judges many times about the solutions I see to this problem, and I’m glad to say that things are starting to move in the right direction. Every trial should take place “from one day to the next,” as it says in the Criminal Proceedings Law and the Civil Proceedings Regulations. In addition, the ruling should be granted within 30 days. It is important to impose realistic expenses on the losing party and to take into account the manner in which it managed its defense or its suit.

 

Something else that I learned from my teacher and mentor, the late Justice Vitcon, is to write short and succinct rulings. Even in the Yohananoff case, one of the most complicated arbitrations I have ever been involved in, which took six years and include real costs running into millions of dollars – I wrote a short ruling extending over just a few pages. This is the only way to avoid a situation where people are forced to wait for years before receiving their rights or the reliefs they deserve.

 

Lastly, how did it feel to receive a Lifetime Achievements Award from the Faculty?
I found the ceremony very moving. I was touched by the comments of Professor Aharon Barak, Supreme Court President Justice Grunis, the president of the Hebrew University, and all the other speakers. As I listened to their comments I found myself wondering whether it was really me they were talking about. I’ve realized that these are the tasks I have to confront, and I hope to continue to be active in my own way in these areas.

 

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Right: Prof. Barak, Prof. Neeman, Supreme Court President Justice Grunis and the Dean Prof. Shany

“Researchers in the Field:” Dr. Guy Pessach

“Researchers in the Field:” Dr. Guy Pessach

 

How will childhood experiences be documented in our collective memory, and why is this question related to copyright law? How is Google exploiting the free culture movement to enhance its own economic strength and market share? Dr. Guy Pessach offers some insight into the issues being examined by researchers in the fields of copyright, law and technology, and media law.

 

-Renana Herman-

 

Dr. Pessach, what projects are you working on these days?Dr. Pessach, what projects are you working on these days?
I’ll tell you about one project that I think is pretty interesting and that has attracted attention from beyond the milieu of scholars in the field of intellectual property. The project was developed in response to an academic stream that has become very powerful in recent years that argues that if we switch to an environment based on free information, without copyright law (or with a significantly reduced scope of protection), we will create a braver, more beautiful, and better world. The main argument presented by this stream is that moderating the scope and strength of copyright protection will free us from the shackles of the corporate media and from the control by commercial media corporations of the main channels used to disseminate content and information.

 

My project examines whether and to what extent this argument is correct. I am also researching the manipulative way that “new world” media corporations such as Google and Facebook inflate this argument – and its outcomes in the political, legislative, and judicial fields – in order to create new structures of political economics. These structures allow the corporations to secure power, market strength, and control that may even be greater than those enjoyed by the “old world” media barons, and to do so in a manner that can damage freedom of expression, cultural diversity, and creative profit. An examination of the activities of bodies such as YouTube, including an empirical study, reveals that the level of concentration, lack of diversity, and distributional gaps are actually liable to increase in a “free culture” environment. The project attempts to connect these findings with copyright law policy and to show that a moderate – but still significant – level of copyright protection (particularly one that concentrates on the creative layer) can be expected to yield a more competitive, decentralized, and diverse media environment. On a more general level, the project seeks to illustrate the way in which extreme conditions of “surplus” copyright protection or the “absence” of copyright protection can be expected to create similar failings. The project has attracted reactions. Predictably enough, the two extremes of the political arena (the extreme or the old media corporations and/or the extreme of the free culture ideology) have attacked and/or supported the findings on the basis of their own narrow interests. By the way, they have all ignored the nuances and fine distinctions identified by the project.

 

Another area you have been working on for some time is “digital cultural preservation.” Can you explain what that means?
Sure. An environment of digital, online information such as that which exists today differs in many ways from the situation in the past. This is true, for example, of the ways in which we manage cultural preservation processes and social memory and the ways we shape the picture of the past for the coming generations. We are no longer living in a world dominated by a handful of physical archives (such as the national library and state archives) that served as powerful gatekeepers of the “remnants of the past” and the “historical landscape” conveyed to the coming generations. The transition to a digital environment enables each of us as an individual, as well as diverse groups and communities in society, to play a meaningful role in shaping the way the past is presented to future generations. For example, think about the way that a content sharing website such as YouTube serves not only as an arena for contemporary discourse, but also as a source that future generations will rely on as they seek to study and be influenced by the landscape and history of the past. YouTube and similar platforms are full-fledged memory institutions.

 

My interest focuses on locating, studying, and profiling the new memory institutions of the digital age, and in attempting to study the ways these enhance and/or threaten society’s ability to realize values of freedom of expression, autonomy, and diversity within the framework of social memory processes. My conclusions are ambivalent. On the one hand, the environment of digital information permits the democratization of cultural preservation and processes of social memory. On the other, the processes of privatization found in the digital environment in this context also raise some concerns.

 

Naturally, this project also has a connection to the field of copyright law and intellectual property law. Unlike a physical environment, when we document material in digital media, the objects we document and use are usually the subjects of copyright protection. In other words, those who hold intellectual property rights to the documented material can potentially control the processes of cultural preservation. My interest focuses on an attempt to propose reforms and amendments to the current copyright laws, so that alongside respecting and protecting the intellectual property rights of creators, it will also be possible to maintain a diverse and democratic environment for digital social memory, rather than one that is controlled by the owners of the intellectual property.

Vol. 19

 
 

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Vol. 19 May 2015

 

 

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Human Rights under Pressure
-Sapir Dayan-

The Faculty recently launched a new interdisciplinary and international doctoral program focusing on the area of human rights. Our students participate in the program alongside doctoral candidates from Freie Universitat Berlin, a German “University of Excellence”. Two of the students in the program – Attorney Limor Yehuda and Attorney Rawia Aburabia – told us about their areas of research and shared some insights about this fascinating program.
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Alumni for Ever
- Sapir Dayan -

What do Ruvi Rivlin, Yaacov Neeman, Ephraim Halevy, Aharon Barak, and Gabriela Shalev have in common? What common denominator connects Shimon Mizrachi, Adi Kol, Dov Khenin, Naftali Bennett, and Ram Oren? And what about Daniel Friedman, Ruth Gabison, Dorit Beinisch, and Eli Moyal? If you need a clue, just look at the title of this article.

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The International Human Rights Clinic
- Sapir Dayan -

Every student at the Faculty knows that the legal clinics offer one of the most interesting experiences the Faculty has to offer. In this issue, we focus on the International Human Rights Clinic.

 
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Short meetings with faculty students
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Editor: Ronen Polliack
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Faculty of Law - All Rights Reserved

Alumni for Ever

Alumni for Ever

 

What do Ruvi Rivlin, Yaacov Neeman, Ephraim Halevy, Aharon Barak, and Gabriela Shalev have in common? What common denominator connects Shimon Mizrachi, Adi Kol, Dov Khenin, Naftali Bennett, and Ram Oren? And what about Daniel Friedman, Ruth Gabison, Dorit Beinisch, and Eli Moyal? If you need a clue, just look at the title of this article.

 

- Sapir Dayan -

 

 

The alumni of the Faculty of Law at the Hebrew University are everywhere, it seems. Many of our graduates can today be found among the decision-making echelon of Israeli public life; many others occupy key positions in the nation’s economic and commercial life. For decades, Faculty graduates have filled senior positions in every conceivable field – presidents and prime ministers, Supreme Court justices and social activists, businesspeople and leading lights in the cultural sphere.

 

Two Faculty alumni decided to bring together this powerful group of individuals under a single roof: The Alumni Club of the Faculty of Law at the Hebrew University. Amir Luzon and Gil Pacht, the two alumni who founded the club, explain their initiative: “Faculty alumni form part of the elite of Israeli society, and many of them work in key positions. Encouraging interaction and connections among the alumni can help spark social or commercial cooperation to the benefit of Israeli society and the graduates themselves. Our goal is to provide a platform that can help the alumni to grow, to support each other, and, of course, to develop and empower Israeli society. In other countries, any self-respecting faculty has an alumni organization that runs diverse activities and encourages networking. So far, such organizations haven’t really been established in Israel. Our aim is to be like the alumni organizations in other countries, that organized alumni meetings and develop a long-term tradition.”

 

One of the projects that Luzon and Pacht are currently planning is called Alumni at the Bar. The idea is to expose recent graduates to veteran alumni who can tell them about their lives and experiences. A meeting is due to take place shortly between alumni and Prof. Gabriela Shalev (who is herself a graduate of the Faculty). The meeting will offer alumni a chance to hear about her life, her experience as Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, her views regarding the world of law, and any other aspects they find interesting. Subsequent meetings will also provide an encounter with alumni who now occupy key positions in the commercial and political realms.

 

One of the projects that Luzon and Pacht are currently planning is called Alumni at the Bar. The idea is to expose recent graduates to veteran alumni who can tell them about their lives and experiences. A meeting is due to take place at July 30 between alumni and Prof. Gabriela Shalev (who is herself a graduate of the Faculty) in Tel Aviv. The meeting will offer alumni a chance to hear about her life, her experience as Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, her views regarding the world of law, and any other aspects they find interesting. Another meeting is scheduled to October 15 with former Supreme court judge Ms. Dalia Dorner (who is also a faculty alumni) in Jerusalem. Subsequent meetings will also provide an encounter with alumni who now occupy key positions in the commercial and political realms. In addition, in the past few weeks the Alumni club has worked on a special and free offer for the faculty's alumni with Codex. Further details will soon be published.

 

Another intriguing project that is still being developed is a mentoring program whereby veteran alumni of the Faculty will “adopt” graduates who are just starting out on their professional path. The project will focus mainly on peripheral areas of Israel, reflecting the club’s social agenda and its desire to work for the good of Israeli society. “Over the years, the Faculty and its alumni have been partners in shaping Israeli identity, Israeli society, and Israeli law. The Faculty has an unparalleled record in terms of the number of alumni who have reached key public positions. These alumni have created a legal tradition that embodies certain values. They have taken these values with them to the positions they fill, and we believe it is important to preserve this tradition.”

 

Where did you get the ideas for the activities from? What was your source of inspiration?

“We hold brainstorming meetings with volunteers, study how alumni clubs operate in other countries, and examine the services provided by similar bodies. We contacted our alumni overseas to learn what is on offer there and what’s missing here in Israel. We are trying to meet the needs of the alumni in the best possible way. We put a lot of thought into each project or new idea in order to respond to the needs of as many alumni as possible,” explains Nuphar Gafny, the club’s executive director.

 

The Alumni Club is a registered association established by Gil and Amir, based on an idea they formulated while they were active in the student union. After completing the formal process of establishing the club with the Registrar of Associations, they founded a website. Later, volunteers joined the club, Nuphar was appointed executive director, and a board was elected. In addition to Gil and Amir, the board members include Professor David Gliksberg, the Faculty representative, and Mr. Shai Beltz, who represents today’s students – tomorrow’s alumni.

 

How have people reacted to the initiative?

“The Faculty supported the initiative and continues to be very supportive. The Faculty itself is increasingly planning activities that facilitate interaction with alumni. Today people realize how important this is. This is our objective – to create synergy between the activities of the Alumni Club and the Faculty’s programs so that the alumni will have the strongest possible connection to the institution that imbued them with their values. The alumni themselves have reacted very positively and the response rate is impressive. We already have around 850 members just from the preliminary registration stage. We attended reunions of the classes of 1984 and 2004 and saw people who hadn’t met for 10 or 30 years hugging each other and chatting as if they’d just left the Faculty. People at the reunions told us that it’s a pity that there aren’t more meetings and more opportunities for interaction between friends.”

 

It does not cost anything to join the Alumni Club and the club does not charge membership fees. Gil, Amir, and the other members do not receive a salary and work on a purely voluntary basis. “We are doing this out of a sense of gratitude for everything the Faculty has given us,” Gil and Amir explain. We are providing this platform free of charge. Come along and join us – be part of this important project! Almost every international academic institution has this kind of club. We urge all the alumni to take part in our activities, and encourage everyone to contribute in any way they can, whether by running activities, raising funds for the programs, or helping the club to grow. We promise that every shekel invested in the club will go to the activities themselves. We want to develop activities to help society at large, to preserve our legal heritage, and to hold reunions and meetings.” Executive director Nuphar Gafny adds: “From my perspective, the club will be successful if in a few years it is well established and well known, and if alumni use it to help each other. I’m sure we’ll manage to establish a brand of Faculty alumni and to use our strength for all kinds of goals to advance ourselves and to help society at large. The more of us there are, the more we can give.”

 

As I chatted with Gil, Amir, and Nuphar, the first though that came into my mind – as it does every time I encounter a positive and obvious idea – was “how come no-one thought of it before?!” Be that as it may, the club exists now, and all that’s left is for us to join this important initiative. You can register through the following link:http://law-alumni.org

 

 

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Amir Luzon and Gil Pacht

Human Rights under Pressure

Human Rights under Pressure: The Joint Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program in Cooperation with Freie Universitat Berlin

 

The Faculty recently launched a new interdisciplinary and international doctoral program focusing on the area of human rights. Our students participate in the program alongside doctoral candidates from Freie Universitat Berlin, a German “University of Excellence”. Two of the students in the program – Attorney Limor Yehuda and Attorney Rawia Aburabia – told us about their areas of research and shared some insights about this fascinating program.

 

- Sapir Dayan -

 

 

The joint doctorate program launched by the Faculty and the Freie Universitat Berlin is the first ever joint Israeli-German doctorate program in any academic field. The program is entitled “Human Rights under Pressure – Ethics, Law, and Politics” (http://www.hr-up.net/). After a lengthy competitive selection process, the Einstein Foundation Berlin and the German Research Foundation DFG approved grants totalling 4.5 million Euros for the first five years of the program. The grant is intended for the formation of an international research group that will engage in joint interdisciplinary research at the Freie Universitat Berlin and at the Minerva Center for Human Rights at the Faculty of Law in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

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Rawia Aburabia
(photo: Gil Eitan)

 

The highly-prestigious program provides full funding for three years for the participating doctoral candidates, enabling them to devote their time to research. The researchers are examining aspects relating to the three most pressing contemporary challenges to human rights concepts: crises and states of emergency; multiculturalism; and globalization. The program is interdisciplinary, including doctoral students and researchers from a wide range of fields, such as law, political science, international relations, philosophy, criminology, history, sociology, comparative ethics, and education.

 

After a long and rigorous selection process requiring participants to be admitted both to their academic department of choice and to the program itself, seven outstanding doctoral candidates were chosen on both sides to join the first cycle of the program, and an additional six on each side have been recently selected for the second cohort, to begin their studies in October, 2015. The participants were selected from many dozens of research proposals submitted from around the globe. As part of their application, students were required to submit a detailed and coherent research plan and the approval of the plan was a key condition for admission to the program. The doctorate program is intended for the most outstanding students, but does not gauge excellence solely in terms of academic prowess. Several of the participants in the program have worked in civil society organizations and achieved excellence in their field of practice. After a long period of being engaged in practical work, they now feel the need to return to academia.

 

Attorney Aburabia, for example, began her career as a social worker, but felt that she lacked the tools to secure meaningful change. She went on to study law and became an attorney. After completing a Master’s degree at American University Washington DC, she worked for many years in the Association for Civil Rights in Israel as the head of programs for the Arab and Bedouin population in the Negev. She was also a member of an action group working to secure equality in laws relating to personal status.

 

Attorney Aburabia, how would you describe the transition from grassroots activism to academia?

“It wasn’t an easy move. I have a constant feeling that the grassroots are calling me and that I need to strike a balance between activism and academic research. In order to be a serious researcher I have to devote time to sitting down to study, read, and investigate. When I think about it, though, my research work is also motivated by activism. The subject I am working on is activist, and I guess that for me activism will always be there in the background. It’s simply a question of proportions – times when I’m a bit more or a bit less involved in activism. I can’t totally detach myself from the practical world, even when I’m engaged in academic work. This year, for example, I’m teaching a course, and that gives me an opportunity to combine theory and practice. In fact, I’m very interested in the interaction between academia and practical work. I don’t think that academia should be isolated from the field. Our academic work should yield tools that can help us secure social, political, and feminist advances.”

 

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Limor Yehuda 
(photo: Faculty of Law website)

Tell us about your research subject.

“I’m writing about laws of personal status (marriage, divorce, and so forth) as these affect the Bedouin-Arab population in Israel from a political and legal perspective. I am attempting to argue that political perspectives influence personal status law in Israel. For example, I’m looking at what happens to women in the Sharia courts and how politics influences the law in general, and personal status law in particular. What really interests me is to examine the patriarchal and political perceptions surrounding family law in Israel, including the intricate colonialist roots of these laws.”

 

In your former position in the Association for Civil Rights in Israel you defended the rights of the Arab population in the Negev. But now, in your research work, you are involved in criticizing the attitude of this same population toward its female members. How do you cope with this complex reality?

 

“I think that anyone who believes in human rights is obliged to struggle against all forms of oppression, whether national or social. My research also criticizes the establishment for failing to do enough to protect Bedouin women and for maintaining the status quo in order to keep things quiet. I also criticize my own society and the patriarchal norms it perpetuates. Throughout my working life, I have always spoken out against national oppression while at the same time criticizing oppressive practices against women. I don’t see any contradiction; in fact, I think these are just two sides of the same coin. We need to look at the whole range of oppressions and combat them all. As a woman who is part of Bedouin society, I feel a double obligation to speak out against oppressive norms and work to combat them, since I speak on behalf of women whose voices are not heard.”

 

What do you hope to achieve through your research?

“I want to expose institutional and patriarchal political mechanisms of oppression and to provide Bedouin women with a voice – both in terms of revealing these mechanisms and in the literal sense of the word. I plan to interview women and ask them about their interactions with the Sharia courts, in order to present their silenced voices. I hope to make an academic contribution to discourse on the subject of Bedouin Arab women and to provide these women with a voice.”

 

Attorney Limor Yehuda has also returned to academia after working for many years in the human rights field. Attorney Yehuda served as a legal assistant in the team of President Aharon Barak at the Supreme Court. She later spent eight years working in the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, including a period as Director of the Human Rights in the Occupied Territories Department.

 

Attorney Yehuda, why did you decide to return to academic life?

“After working mainly in the human rights field for a lengthy period, I felt that I needed to study various areas and investigate them more deeply. I wanted to revitalize my conceptual approaches, and doctoral studies seemed to offer a good opportunity to do just that.”

 

Can you tell us about your research project?

“My project focuses on the role and significance of the principle of equality in resolving ethno-national conflicts and in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. My supervisors are Professor Barak Medina and Professor Yuval Shany from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and Prof. Anne Peters from Freie Universitat Berlin. Law students hear a lot about the principle of equality, and I was intensely involved in this issue during my period in the Association for Civil Rights in Israel. Now I’m interested in examining whether this principle can be helpful in the context of conflict resolution. The principle of equality is a key foundation of our concept of justice. My hypothesis is that just as the violation of the principle of equality is one of the root causes of the conflict, so respecting equality could be a milestone on the path to its resolution. I will be considering the significance and function that equality could play in the transition from conflict to conflict resolution. We don’t usually think about peace processes and signed peace agreements as areas that are subject to the law – despite the fact that the outcome of the process is an agreement, which is ultimately a legal document. I’d like to examine whether his basic legal principle could be relevant to peace processes, and if so – to define exactly what this means and what ramifications it has in these contexts.”

 

 

Professor Tomer Broude of the Law Faculty and the Department of International Relations, serves as the Academic Director of the program at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He explains that the research group includes a diverse group of students who are examining a wide range of subjects. This creates fertile ground for mutual enrichment – an essential component in this type of research, which must reach the very highest standard. Every year, around 14 new students will join the group, so that by the third year – the peak year of the project – it will comprise approximately 40 participants, divided equally between the Hebrew University and Freie Universitat Berlin.

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Tomer Broude
(photo: Faculty of Law Website)

 

The joint aspect of the program is manifested in various ways. First, each research student has two supervisors, one from Jerusalem and one from Berlin. Since the two academic cultures are different, this should enrich the research work. Many of the professors on the Israeli side have a background of academic studies in the United States, whereas Germany maintains the long-standing and revered Continental tradition. Accordingly, the supervisors will complement each other and provide the doctoral students with different perspectives.

 

Second, several joint seminars will be held in Israel and Germany over the course of the year. The program began with a workshop in Israel attended by all the students, including lectures by senior academics in the field of human rights. At the end of the year, a summer school will be held in Berlin. The students will participate in training sessions on various subjects led by outstanding lecturers, including professional guidance in areas that are not always taught at university: how to publish articles; how to cope with the psychological pressure that results from the need to write a vast quantity of material over three years; how to prepare a successful presentation, and so forth. One of the goals of the program is to provide tools for students who choose to move on to areas outside academia, so that their education can provide added value wherever they find themselves.

 

Third, the program includes an exchange period. Each participant is required to spend between one semester and eight months at the partner institution. This will open up additional sources and enhance the participants’ ability to engage in high-quality comparative research. Although the research projects are not all comparative per se, it is always possible to find points of reference in the host country. For example, one of the projects, focuses on urban rights. In an age when humans increasingly live in cities, the question arises of the rights they enjoy in this context. Do city-dwellers enjoy ecological rights? Is there a right to urban quality of life? The doctoral student examining this area, Nir Barak, will undertake part of his work in Berlin, one of Europe’s leading metropolises, providing the potential to enrich his research. Rawia Aburabia, the doctoral student examining polygamy in Bedouin society will also be able to examine a migrant society such as Germany, including such aspects as the turning of an official blind eye to questionable practices, or family unification in the context of refugeehood and the extended family. Again, this will add a new element to the research project.

 

Attorney Aburabia confesses that “the life of a doctoral student is a lonely one. You have to sit down and write, and that’s a highly individual activity. This program provides doctoral students with an academic community – and not just a community, but one that brings together researchers under the umbrella heading of human rights, and whose participants have already been involved in academic and practical work in this field. This community provides opportunities to consult with colleagues, exchange ideas, and provide mutual support. Every two weeks we have a workshop where we hear lectures by leading names in the field. This broadens our horizons and provides us with a theoretical foundation for examining what is happening in the field around the world. Another advantage of the program is the community aspect. The community isn’t just a legal one. It’s multidisciplinary, and that broadens the prism still further and enables us to think about our research from other angles, and not only from the standpoint of law. In my own project, I’m trying to use different approaches to examine the phenomenon, including political explanations. Another important feature of the program is the partnership with Berlin, as an example of an international academic community. At the end of the year we will be participating in a very intensive summer school in Berlin, where we will have to explain the progress we have made in our projects and get feedback from our supervisors. I’m very pleased with the program.”

 

Attorney Yehuda adds: “The Faculty is providing very strong support for the doctoral students, enabling us to free ourselves of other preoccupations and devote our time to our research. The encounter with other students who have similar areas of interest and motivations is very positive. The international dimension of the program is another important and interesting feature. The most interesting aspect, and also the real challenge, is that the participants come from different disciplines. It isn’t always easy to contain all these different perspectives, but it’s certainly fascinating and enriching.”

 

Professor Broude, in what ways does the multidisciplinary nature of the program contribute to human rights research?

“Although the hard core of human rights research is legal, many of those who are involved in the human rights field come from other disciplines, such as political science, history, social work, education, the philosophy of human rights, and so forth. Accordingly, research on human rights must also be undertaken from within these disciplines. Legal research itself is no longer doctrinal in character. These days, legal research does not merely constitute reading court rulings and analyzing them. Modern legal research is increasingly acquiring an interdisciplinary character. Some legal academics are concerned about this and argue that we are losing the dimension of legal expertise, but in my opinion the opposite is true. You have to be very confident in your own discipline to embark on this kind of research, so first of all you need to be a strong legal academic. All the doctoral students I supervise are undertaking interdisciplinary research. The Faculty also encourages this – many of our students now are combining law studies with degrees from other departments. The same is true in the United States, Canada, and Europe. Interdisciplinary research enriches and illuminates human rights issues from different perspectives. If a candidate submitted a research proposal in the field of biology, chemistry or bioethics relating to human rights, I’d be delighted.”

 

Attorney Aburabia adds that “the supervisors make an enormous contribution to the research work. My own supervisor, Professor Michael Karayanni, is interested in such aspects as multiculturalism, religion, and state, and has helped me to examine my own research through these prisms. Dr. Binyamin Blum, who is a member of my supervisory committee and is an expert in the field of the history of law and colonialism, has also helped me to examine my work from that perspective. The German member of my supervisory committee is interested in feminism and feminist movements, and she will be able to help me examine personal status laws from that angle. With the help of my supervisors and the supervisory committee, I can examine my research subject as a case study reflecting a broader phenomenon. This helps me to gain insight from much wider processes in such fields as religion and state, the colonial control of minorities, or patriarchal perceptions of law.”

 

Professor Broude, how will you evaluate whether the program has been a success?

“First of all, in terms of the quality of the research produced by the participants. As a supervisor, your success is defined by the success of the students you supervise. I’d like to see the graduates of the program tackling the more complex aspects of the human rights field. We see the program as a melting pot for human rights scholars in Israel and around the world.

 

“Second, we aim to enhance the position the Hebrew University of Jerusalem as a leading international institution in the field of human rights. The university already has a reputation in this field, of course, but it’s important to continue to innovate and to produce research at the highest level, including in areas that go beyond conventional paradigms of human rights and include the use of means other than law to respond to human rights problems.

 

“As the head of the project in Berlin, Professor Hoffmann-Holland of the Faculty of Law at the Free University of Berlin noted, our ultimate goal is to promote innovative and interdisciplinary research in human rights by creating a network of institutions and researchers.”

Students

Students

-Renana Herman -

 

Name: Barak Fuchs

 

Age: 26

 

Year: 3

 

The facts: Alongside his legal studies, Bark is currently also serving as a full-time father (or “househusband”) while his wife Naama takes her first steps as a legal intern. The couple were recently featured in a news report on the subject. “It isn’t easy to combine degree studies with fatherhood.”

 

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Why law? “When I was about 21 I realized that I wanted to study law. It wasn’t a sudden and dramatic decision. I used to argue with people a lot and I generally won the argument. Slowly I realized that this was the right subject for me. I really like reading and analyzing texts and have a critical mind. Also, if we are honest about it, law is all around us. Those who write the laws or rulings ultimately decide what happens in the country. That’s why I think it would be a good thing if everyone took a degree course in law.”

 

A second hearing“Over my years at the university I’ve participated in some interesting projects. In the first year I took part in the Beit Midrash for Human Rights. We studied human rights and volunteered in the “social seal of approval” project run by the organization Ma’aglei Tzedek. Caf?s that were found to be providing decent rights for their workers received the “social seal of approval.” The goal of the project was to encourage potential customers to prefer businesses that were attentive to workers’ rights. In the second year I volunteered in Breira (“Alternative”). I spent six months in the family affairs court and six months in the administrative affairs court. This work is an example of changing the world a day at a time. Ostensibly all we did was help people to fill in forms, which sounds very easy and technical. But we helped lots of people who weren’t fluent in Hebrew or experienced expressing themselves in writing. For example, I helped a battered woman who was in a very emotional state and couldn’t start to fill in a six-page form. In those kind of situations you really feel that what you’re doing is meaningful. If I hadn’t been there, she wouldn’t have completed the form and her husband would have continued to beat her. It’s as simple as that. This year I am working in the legal clinic on women’s rights in labor law. I am concentrating on the issue of the conditions of employment of Haredi women.

 

 

Name: Esterika vidal

 

Age: 25

 

Year: 4

 

The facts: Estherika is combining her law degree with a degree in media studies. This coming September she will officially complete her studies and begin an internship at Yigal Arnon law firm in Jerusalem. She serves as the law students’ representative on the general student union, guides high school groups visiting the Supreme Court, and works in a hostel for youth at risk in Mevasseret.

 

esterika

 

Why law? “When I was young I dreamt of studying law. If I made a list of things to do before I was 30, it was there – to be a lawyer. People around me always said that I was suited to law. As I neared the end of high school, I became less enthusiastic about it for some reason. I went to see a counselor and he told me that I simply had to study law. So I couldn’t refuse. In the future I imagine that I will work in the media field. Law will be a ‘bonus.’”

 

A second hearing“I get great satisfaction from working as a guide for high school students who visit the Supreme Court as part of their civics studies, and see it as much more than a mere job. There are various things that I only found out after beginning my university studies, and I’m glad that these students hear about it while they are still in high school. For example, what the Supreme Court does, and the fact that every person can submit a petition. We tell them about famous rulings such as Alice Miller (the first woman to be admitted for pilot training in the Israel Air Force) and other cases that are relevant to their own lives. I also worked in the clinic for women’s rights at work. I led a workshop for women in the Pat neighborhood of Jerusalem with the goal of raising their awareness of the rights they are entitled to. The workshop gave the women an opportunity to share their experiences in the workplace, to present themselves, and to discuss problems they had encountered, with the goal of identifying solutions to difficult situations.

 

 

 

Name: Ariel Galili

 

Age: 29

 

Year: 3

 

The facts: Ariel, who originally comes from Holon, is a diehard activist. Professor Alon Harel is responsible for giving him his nickname of “Galili the Scholar.” Ariel explains: “Before studying law, I completed a BA in literature with an emphasis on creative writing. I have been involved in social action for many years. I spent a year volunteering with the youth movement Hanoar Ha’oved Vehalomed: I lived in the movement commune and ran subsidized summer camps for children from poor families. During my previous degree I coordinated leadership development programs for students. We talked to them about the welfare state, conformism, oppression of all kinds, and feminism. Immediately after I completed my degree in Hebrew literature, I began to study law.

 

galili 

Why law? “What pushed me to study law was my desire to represent women who are caught in violent relationships and are longing for some kind of legal help, such as a restraining order, protection order, or any other legal tool that will enable them to live in financial security and physical safety. During my studies I participated in the social capital market clinic, which has raised my awareness of a field that’s relatively new in Israel: the use of the capitalist market to meet social needs. Or to put it another way – combining social yield with economic yield. This field involves commercial companies that create profit, which in turn is used to create all kinds of social solutions. I have just finished Dr. Yifat Bitton’s course on law and gender, which exposed me to different ways of using damages law to combat violence against women. For me, a law degree is a tool. Even if protests and demonstrations achieve change, this will be very slow. We need the legal tool in order to change things.”

 

An additional hearing“Apart from my degree, I am also involved in writing poetry. I recently published my work in a left-wing journal called Mitan, which is published in Jaffa and advocates Jewish-Arab coexistence in the city. It’s very difficult for a poet to turn into a law student. In some ways I feel that it’s all alien to me. But this is a very important part of my personality. I hope to publish my first book of poems over the next couple of years.”

The International Human Rights Clinic

The International Human Rights Clinic

 

Every student at the Faculty knows that the legal clinics offer one of the most interesting experiences the Faculty has to offer. In this issue, we focus on the International Human Rights Clinic.

 

- Sapir Dayan -

 

Every year a large number of students apply to join one of the eight legal clinics active at the Faculty. Many students write lengthy and impassioned explanations on the application forms and endure a nail-biting wait, only to receive the disappointing news that there are no places left. The legal clinics are not only popular because they offer a welcome change from classes, textbooks, and reading lists. The Faculty’s clinics, directed by Dr. Einat Albin, provide a real opportunity for students to use their legal knowledge to engage in meaningful social action. The students work with diverse disadvantaged populations, most of whom have little chance of meeting a regular attorney. They work with people with disabilities, migrant workers, refugees and asylum seekers, youth at risk, people involved in criminal proceedings, Haredi women, new immigrants, and others.

 

 

In this issue we focus on the International Human Rights Clinic – one of the eight clinics in the Clinical Legal Education Center - which provides legal assistance for individuals and organizations in the field of human rights. In particular, the clinic seeks to encourage the recognition and protection of the right to equality and dignity; social, economic, and cultural rights; and human rights during a state of emergency. Attorney Neta Patrick and Professor Tomer Broude directed the clinic last year, while this year Attorney Bana Shoughry-Badarne is working alongside Professor Broude. The clinic works with civil society organizations to promote projects relating to human rights protected under international law and to encourage the inculcation of international human rights law within Israeli law.

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Attorney Bana Shoughry-Badarne 
(photo: Talia Shein)

 

The following is just a small sample of the clinic’s work over the past year. The students are currently working to prepare a Supreme Court petition concerning the accessibility of the Executor’s Office to Arabic speakers. A final letter prior to instigating proceedings is due to be sent by the end of the month. In a related field, the clinic is representing residents of the Isawiyya neighborhood in their efforts to persuade the municipality to address the chronic shortage of classrooms in the neighborhood. Regarding the rights of minor asylum seekers, the clinic is working to prepare a legal opinion concerning the right to health of minors ahead of a seminar on the subject due to be held at the end of the 2014/15 academic year. The clinic also submitted an application for status for a minor who was born in Israel to a tourist who abandoned him due to a severe disability. The minor has received temporary resident status and the clinic is continuing to work to secure permanent status. In another case regarding status, the clinic submitted an appeal on behalf of three people from East Jerusalem - a father and two of his four children – which may find themselves expelled from the city, essentially due to circumstances related to their poverty.

 

Sixteen students work in the clinic in various projects according to their fields of interest. The students undertake in-depth legal research and prepare legal opinions, proposed laws, research reports, correspondence with the authorities, administrative appeals, and Supreme Court petitions. The students are involved in every aspect of the legal proceedings. They meet with clients, organizations, and senior legal figures from the public service, and they attend court hearings. This year, under the guidance of Attorney Bana Shoughry-Badarne, the clinic is running some interesting and intriguing projects. Particular emphasis is placed on promoting the right to equality by opposing discriminatory threshold requirements for jobs; advancing the right to language and education in East Jerusalem; strengthening the obligation to investigate complaints of torture; supporting the right to rehabilitation of asylum seekers who were the victims of torture outside Israel; promoting the right to health of minor asylum seekers; advancing the rights of stateless persons born in Israel; and enhancing the protection of human rights in times of emergency.

 

Another project run by the clinic this year is the preparation of a proposed law to improve the investigation of complaints raising suspicion of torture. The clinic is working with the Aid Organization for Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Israel (ASSAF) to prepare a shadow report for submission to the Committee against Torture. The report will focus mainly on the obligation to rehabilitate victims of torture who entered Israel through Sinai. Another proposed law the students are preparing seeks to challenge threshold conditions for jobs that discriminate against some candidates (particularly Mizrachim and women). The clinic also submitted a request for information according to the Freedom of Information Act on the existing procedures for the closure of traffic arteries in a state of emergency, and whether such procedures take into account the human rights of those affected by such blockages (including freedom of movement and the right to education, health, and work).

 

Last year, one of the clinic’s areas of work was the drafting of proposed laws concerning an emerging field in international human rights law known as “human rights defenders” – a group for whom the United Nations adopted a declaration in 1998 calling for their protection. Attorney Neta Patrick explains that in recent years human rights activists around the world and in Israel have increasingly faced harassment in an attempt to silence public protests sparked by their work. An example of such harassment is a libel suit in the sum of millions of shekels submitted by a recycling corporation against an environmental activist in an attempt to halt his campaign. The corporation’s harassment is directed at the activist as an individual, and accordingly is liable to be particularly effective, leading him to abandon his struggle and deterring others from joining.

 

 clinic1

Seminar for civil society organizations

 

 

Together with the parliamentary assistant to MK Zehava Galon, the students at the clinic researched the issue and considered when and how human rights defenders would require special protection under Israeli law. One instance when the principles in the international declaration could be used was when a political activist is subjected to sexual harassment by a police officer at a demonstration. The Knesset Committee on the Status of Women discussed this issue, which it considered to be a familiar phenomenon. The students suggested that the Prohibition of Sexual Harassment Law should be amended to include a specific clause concerning sexual harassment against human rights activists, since this constitutes a distinct category of sexual harassment. If adopted, the amendment would reflect recognition that additional tools are need to combat harassment intended to silence protest and to deter activists from acting in the public interest.

 

Both last year and this year, the clinic has worked on a unique project that is the first of its kind in Israel, in cooperation with the Minerva Center for Human Rights. The students Bassam Hazan, Lena Mahula, and Tal Darnitzky compiled the first ever Hebrew-language guide to writing “shadow reports.” The guide seeks to enhance access to reporting proceedings for human rights organizations. A shadow report is a report submitted by civil society organizations to the United Nations human rights committees, serving as a principal source of information for these committees regarding the manner of implementation of the various international conventions in the relevant country. The preparation of these reports requires a familiarity with the reporting mechanism, extensive knowledge of the alleged violation, the allocation of resources, and attention to wording and precision. Even large and well-established human rights organizations may encounter difficulties and obstacles that deter them from participating in the reporting process. The students identified this weakness and prepared the guide in response. They also held a special seminar for civil society organizations on the subject of working with the UN human rights committees.

 

 

clinic2

Tour of East Jerusalem as part of the clinic’s work this year to promote a municipal outline plan in East Jerusalem

 

 

One of the students described her work in the clinic as “the most important experience I’ve had so far during my studies. The work is interesting and you have a sense of mission. But apart from that, I have also been exposed to reality. Frontal lectures cannot always describe the reality on the ground. The clinic gave me a chance to experience the work of an attorney, including fascinating aspects as well as routine chores. Now I feel that I know what I’m heading for and what I want to do, and this has also helped me focus my academic studies.” The clinics’ admirable work is a classic win-win scenario. The students learn new things and enjoy an opportunity to engage in meaningful work; the public benefit from their high-quality pro bono work, under the professional supervision of senior attorneys; and the students end it all after completing another six credit points toward their degree.

Vol. 20

 
 

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Vol. 20  August 2015

 
 
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The Faculty Then and Now

- Prof. Joshua Weisman -

 

Over the years, our Faculty has managed to become one of the best “faculties of American law” in the United States. The challenge it faces is how not to allow this achievement to come at the expense of its character as the best Israeli law faculty.

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Standing on the Shoulders of Giants
-Yuval Simhi-

A former state comptroller, a retired judge, and a recipient of the Israel Prize find themselves together in the same place. This is a daily occurrence in the Faculty of Law at the Hebrew University. Leading and influential figures from the Israeli legal world effectively established the Faculty and continue to come here to teach and engage in research.

Read More...

yaelresized

  
Big Brother - The Legal Version
- Yuval Shoham-
A new mentoring program at the Faculty matches first-year undergraduates with Faculty graduates. The graduates read papers written by the students for their Legal Writing and Research course and offer useful comments.
Read More...

 

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Law and Social Work - An Unlikely Match?

- Yuval Simhi-

Of all the interesting combinations offered by the Faculty of Law, the joint degree with social work is particularly intriguing. Despite the real differences between the two disciplines, students taking the joint program explain that the two distinct worldviews are actually complementary.
 
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Barnea

  

Holocaust and Law

- Yuval Simhi-

One of the most interesting courses offered at the Faculty of Law is entitled Holocaust and Law, taught by Attorney Aryeh Barnea. We met the lecturer to discuss the fascinating connection between the Holocaust, the law, morality, and the role of the legal expert.
 
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Theater and Law

- Yuval Simhi-

For a decade the Faculty of Law has offered a unique workshop addressing the interface between law and theater. To an outside observer the two fields might seem to have little in common, but those who have experienced their common aspects report that the connection is evident and even intuitive.
 
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Short meetings with faculty students
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Empirical Research in Academia and in Legal Practice
The Research Methods course is one of the latest additions to the curriculum for the bachelor’s degree in law. The course aims to provide the students with basic knowledge of the research methods used by legal scholars. In order to understand the connection between empirical research and law, and how academic research and legal practice are combined, we spoke to Dr. Keren Weinshall-Margel, who is teaching the course.
 
Read More...

 
 
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Faculty of Law - All Rights Reserved

Big Brother - The Legal Version

Big Brother - The Legal Version

 

A new mentoring program at the Faculty matches first-year undergraduates with Faculty graduates. The graduates read papers written by the students for their Legal Writing and Research course and offer useful comments.

-Yuval Shoham-


Just eight months after Sapir Peles began her studies at the Faculty of Law, she found herself standing in front of former Justice Minister Professor Yaacov Neeman, listening to his comments on the first legal paper she had ever written. “To be honest I was very worried. I was worried that he would tell me that my legal arguments weren’t any good,” Sapir admits. “But in fact he strongly agreed with my points and we had a very fruitful and interesting discussion.” 

Many of Sapir’s classmates must have been similarly anxious. Some 60 first-year students participated this year in a new program at the Faculty that “twinned” each student with an attorney, judge, or senior legal expert who is an alumni of the Faculty. The mentors read the legal paper written by the student in their Legal Writing and Research course and offered their opinion. Thus alongside the comments of the course teachers, the students got a chance to meet with senior and experienced legal experts and to listen to their opinions. 


“When the dean of the Faculty initiated the program, the thought behind it was that we have a wonderful pool of alumni, and we want to develop our connection with them and their bond with the Faculty. We felt this was a great way for them to contribute some of their extensive experience,” explains Adv. Yael Kariv-Teitelbaum, the course coordinator. “Not every first-year student has a judge for a parent, and I think it’s important that they meet people from the field of practice. Apart from that, I know that people sometimes feel that while the students at the Faculty are great interns and have sharp and profound legal minds, their writing and legal phrasing aren’t always as good as they should be. So I think it’s great that another pair of eyes reviews their paper and offers an opinion.” Attorney Kariv-Teitelbaum emphasizes that the goal of the meetings between student and mentor is to offer the students a different and broader perspective. “The mentors don’t judge the papers according to the criteria used by the course teachers and they don’t give a final grade. Instead, they draw on their broader worldview and offer some tips and comments concerning the quality of the writing and the legal arguments. Above all, they aim to provide tools that will be helpful to the students as they continue their studies. The meetings also sparked more personal discussions, and many students told us that they had developed a good connection with their mentor. Some of them even decided to stay in touch in the future.” 

 

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Adv. Yael Kariv-Teitelbaum

 

“Taking a 360-Degree View of Reality” 
In the course, which is compulsory for all first-year students, the participants choose a research question relating to a specific legal issue and write a 3,500-word paper on their chosen subject. For most of them, this is their first encounter with legal writing. By way of example, Sapir wrote a paper discussing the ramifications of the declaration of areas of land in East Jerusalem as a national park, and considered whether this move enables equal construction and development for all the residents of the city. Sapir says that while her subject could be considered an overtly political one, she managed to avoid the pitfall of political bias in her paper. “Professor Neeman, whose political views may differ from my own, was very matter-of-fact and didn’t let politics influence our discussions,” she emphasizes. “Indeed, it was interesting to view the subject through the eyes of someone who has served in government and made numerous decisions relating to the issue addressed by my paper. For example, I mentioned that the decision to establish the national park on the slopes of Mt. Scopus was taken in 2013, when Neeman was justice minister. So I was fortunate to have a mentor who is a real expert in my chosen subject. We also had an interesting discussion about the history of Jerusalem. As a native of Jerusalem who spent part of his childhood in the Old City, Neeman brought to our discussions the personal angle of what it is like to grow up in a city with so many rifts.” 

For his part, Professor Neeman comments: “I think it is really important that even at a very early stage, students take a 360-degree view of reality, rather than a 90-degree or 45-degree perspective. It’s important that they can appreciate and understand broad social ramifications – the ways that any subject influences political and other aspects. It’s important that they have a broad perspective on reality. That’s why I’m so pleased that they contacted me and I think this project is very important. Apart from that, Sapir’s paper was excellent.” 

The Legal Expert’s Main Tool 
As everyone knows, the pen is mightier than the sword. Yet the pens of recent generations seem much less mighty. Young generations spend every minute of their day immersed in smartphones, Facebook, and Twitter, and they find it hard to free themselves of the need to cram as much information as possible into as few sentences as they can. Anything more than 140 characters seems to be droning on; and who even has time to read a whole book?! While it may be reasonable to assume that law students have stronger-than-average writing skills, the course – and the new program – can surely give them a significant helping hand. “I think it starts as early as high school: they don’t work enough with the students to develop their writing and phrasing abilities. You can see something of a deterioration in this respect,” agrees Attorney Kariv-Teitelbaum. “In the course we try to teach the students how to write a proper argument, how to undertake legal research, how to phrase themselves properly, and so forth. But obviously we can’t give them feedback on every sentence. The students need to learn to write – certainly as jurists, for whom writing is naturally their main tool. I certainly hope that as many students as possible will participate in the program next year.” 

"Researchers in the Field:" Empirical Research in Academia and in Legal Practice

“Researchers in the Field:” Empirical Research in Academia and in Legal Practice

 

The Research Methods course is one of the latest additions to the curriculum for the bachelor’s degree in law. The course aims to provide the students with basic knowledge of the research methods used by legal scholars. In order to understand the connection between empirical research and law, and how academic research and legal practice are combined, we spoke to Dr. Keren Weinshall-Margel, who is teaching the course.


-Yuval Simhi-


Empirical legal research seems to be a growing field in recent years. “For a while, law and economics was the rising star, to the point they everyone now thinks in terms of cost and benefit. But today the hot topic is empirical law,” says Dr. Keren Weinshall-Margel, an expert in empirical research into legal and social institutions. Alongside her research work, Dr. Weinshall-Margel is now also teaching the Research Methods course at the Faculty of Law, which was introduced into the curriculum over the past year. The new course in itself highlights the rising importance of empirical research. 

Before joining the academic faculty, Dr. Weinshall-Margel founded and directed the The Israeli Courts Research Division )ICRD) in the Judicial Authority for some four years. “I heard about this new division while I was working as a visiting scholar at Harvard,” she recalls. “It seemed like a wonderful opportunity to combine academic research and the possibility to have a practical impact on the world, and I hoped to make an improvement in a field that is important to me.” After returning to Israel, Dr. Weinshall-Margel set to work straight away building the new division . “I had to start thinking about the goals of a research body inside the Judicial Authority, its structure and working procedures, and the type of studies it should undertake.” 



The new division drew its inspiration from the Federal Judicial Center in the US, which also includes a research unit. “Serving as a research body for the judicial system is a unique function. As I perceived and defined it, our client is the court administration. Those who instructed us to engage in research were the Supreme Court presidents – firstly, President Beinisch and later, President Grunis, who headed the department’s steering committee. But despite this, we were completely independent in preparing our studies, and we could also recommend research subjects to the steering committee. For example, we realized that there is a problem with legal costs, and we proposed to undertake an empirical study to examine how legal costs are awarded, and what social and legal interests are actually served by this mechanism. Our studies were always empirical and never normative. We would present our conclusions, and the great thing was seeing them put into practice. For example, one of our most important projects was to define a Case Wight Index for evaluating judicial workloads based on the average judicial time invested in different case types. Almost immediately after we finished our study, the index was implemented throughout the court system. Today cases are allocated to judges and staff positions are transferred between courts on the basis of our study and our index. That’s a great feeling for a researcher – to see a direct impact on the field. I even find myself missing that feeling a little.” 

 

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Dr. Keren Weinshall-Margel

 

Dr. Weinshall-Margel says that the cooperation between the department and the judges was excellent. “At first the judges had some concerns, but they very soon realized that our studies could help them and could identify problems. They saw that we approached our work without prejudice and with the goal of conducting research. The cooperation was wonderful. We had direct access to the judges and we undertook many interviews and questionnaires with them. It usually takes longer for new bodies to find their feet, but I think that we brought results pretty quickly, and in general the judges appreciated this.” 

The research team included scholars who combined the legal field with another area of knowledge. “We had a great team. I decided that the department should include two researchers, in addition to myself, and it was important to me that they should have an academic background in the social sciences as well as law. Firstly, because of the methodological side of our work, which is studied in greater depth in the social sciences. Apart from that, it was important to me to have a diverse team. One researcher had a degree in law and psychology, while the other had a degree in law and cognition. We also had research assistants who were students combining law with another subject – economics, business administration, political science, and so forth. Most of them were outstanding students from our own Faculty. They collected the data that the researchers and I then analyzed. 


Another study by Dr. Weinshall-Margel that was published recently examines the chances that a criminal prosecution will be successful. “The study began while I was working in the Research Department, and I prepared it together with Professor Oren Gazal-Ayal, an expert in criminal law at the Faculty of Law in the University of Haifa. We wanted to examine the real rates of acquittal and conviction and to see whether conviction rates in Israel are as high as usually assumed (99.9%). After investigation, we found completely different results: between 70% to 85% of conviction rate. From this study we went on to undertake other studies.” 

Dr. Weinshall-Margel is currently working on a study focusing on class action suits, in cooperation with Professor Alon Klement. “We are examining in empirical terms whether the institution of class action suits is effectivein Israel. The Israeli model for class action suits broadly follows the American model, but the implementation of the model in Israel is completely different from the US. For example, in Israel 75 percent of applications to certify class action suits relate to consumer suits, while in the US these account for just 25 percent of suits. We are trying to understand the reasons for the differences, and considering whether the implementation of the class action mechanism realizes its goals in practice. I am also working on a book based on my doctorate thesis, in which I examined the extent to which Supreme Court justices in Israel are influenced by their ideological positions, as distinct from legalistic considerations relating to the application and implementation of the law. The book focuses on an empirical analysis of decisions relating to freedom of religion, political rights, and human rights that conflict with security interests. In another project (together with Professor Ya’acov Ritov and Dr. Udi Zomer), we are comparing the extent to which ideological positions influence the decisions of justices in five supreme courts – in Israel, Canada, India, the US, and the Philippines. The results show that ideological motivations have a much stronger influence on the decisions of supreme court justices in the US, followed by Canada. Israeli and Filipino justices are much less prone to make decisions on the basis of ideological considerations, while in India we found virtually no influence of ideological positions on the justices’ decisions. In the study we attempt to explain the institutional elements that lead to these results – above all the method used for the appointment of justices to the court, as well as factors such as the type of cases, workloads, etc.” 

In the meantime, Dr. Weinshall-Marshall is working on yet more projects. “At any given time I try to work on about four different projects, usually in cooperation with other researchers. I love to cooperate, and empirical projects usually require such cooperation. One reason is that they require a lot of theoretical work, as well as time and resources to collect and analyze data. Another is that these studies combine expertise from different fields of knowledge.” 

How did you get involved in this field of research? 
“There was an argument between my parents. My mother said that I should be an academic researcher in the social sciences, while my father thought that I should become an attorney. So I ended up somewhere in the middle. What I enjoy is research, but it’s important to me that it is connected to the real world and to actual influences and actions. That’s why I jumped at the opportunity to work in the Research Department, and that’s also why I worked for several years as a legal advisor to the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee after completing my internship in the Knesset. Research and practice are often contradictory, but I’ve always tried to combine and balance the two. I’m still not sue that I’ve found the balance.” 

To what extent do you think that legal experts in Israel make use of empirical tools? 
“It varies a lot. If you’d asked me five or ten years ago, I’d have replied that they don’t use these tools at all. In recent years there has been a rapid trend to adopt empirical methodologies in all aspects of law, and there is even a demand for these tools in the case law. I organized a conference about public empirical research together with Professor Barak Medina and Professor Yoav Dotan. The conference included a panel discussion at the Supreme Court to discuss the question whether and how empirical methods can help in the judicial process. The fact that the panel was held, and even more so the fact that most of the Supreme Court justice attended and participated in the event, show the growing importance and contribution of empirical research to the world of law. In my opinion, recognition of the contribution of analysis based on the systematic collection of data is not confined to academic institutions, but is spreading to the field of legal practice. One sign of this is the development of legal search engines. Commercial companies in Israel are working today to create databases in a controversial attempt to explain or predict levels of criminal punishment (“Nevo-Anisha”) or the level of damages (“Nezik-Click.”) 

Lastly, do you have a tip for students who want to engage in research? 
“They should do what they enjoy doing. We have some great students. I’ve taught at several institutions and faculties, and our students are the best.” 

Holocaust and Law

Holocaust and Law

 

One of the most interesting courses offered at the Faculty of Law is entitled Holocaust and Law, taught by Attorney Aryeh Barnea. We met the lecturer to discuss the fascinating connection between the Holocaust, the law, morality, and the role of the legal expert.

 
-Yuval Simhi-


“I’m the son of Holocaust survivors,” Attorney Barnea begins. “Of all the subjects I have been involved with over the course of my life, this is the only one that I can’t drop. I work in education out of a sense of mission. I work in law out of a profound interest. But the subject of the Holocaust is always with me and never leaves me. I have written two books and many articles on the subject. As well as teaching the course at the Faculty, I also lecture on the subject in various civilian and military forums. For eight years or so, I served as chairperson of Lapid, a movement that aimed to inculcate the lessons of the Holocaust. For the past eight years, I have served as chairperson of Amcha, which provides psychological and social support for Holocaust survivors.” In addition to teaching the weekly class at the Faculty (in the second semester), Barnea is also a school principal, a lecturer, and an attorney. 

“Even before I began to work as an attorney, it was clear to me that this wouldn’t be the main focus of my life. I only devote a small part of my time to law. For me, law is always a tool – not a goal or a value. I see it as a means for serving human and civil rights, and these rights serve humanistic values, a category that stands above law. Another area of interest for me has always been education. One fine morning I got a telephone call from the Municipality of Jerusalem. They offered me a chance to work as a high school principal, even though I didn’t have a teaching license, let alone any experience running schools. But despite that I decided to take on the challenge. For six years, I was the principle of Denmark School in the Katamonim neighborhood, which was slated for closure at the time. The school not only survived, but we won municipal and national education prizes. 


 Over the previous decade, Barnea was principal of the Herzliya Gymnasium in Tel Aviv. He now works as principle of the regional high school in Be’er Tuvia. “I’m very glad to say that I have a chance to put my beliefs into practice there. This is a school that accepts every student and provides scholarships for all those in need. No student is left outside the academic framework for financial reasons. We have over 20 different academic and vocational tracks.” From time to time, Attorney Barnea also engages in legal practice. “Every few months someone thinks of me and asks me to write a contract or serve as an arbitrator. Apart from that, I draw on my legal education in my work as a school principal when I deal with the school constitution, contracts with suppliers, and so forth.” 


Barnea

  Attorney Aryeh Barnea

 Attorney Barnea explains how the idea of the course was born: “I met with Professor Alex Stein, who was the deputy dean at the time and was a classmate of mine from the Faculty of Law. I mentioned that it seemed to me that the Faculty didn’t have a clear policy regarding the connection between law and history, and I illustrated the point by referring to the most important subject for me. Alex suggested that I teach a course on the connection between Holocaust and law. Professor Mordechai Kremnitzer, who was a teaching assistance in our penal law class years before, came to listen to a lecture. I chose a subject from the field of criminal law that would interest him and since then – 15 years ago – I have been teaching the course.” 

Attorney Barnea explains that his main goal as the lecturer in the course is to influence the students’ worldview. “Apart from my personal satisfaction, the main point of the course is the connection between historical, legal, and value-based issues. I also enjoy maintaining a connection to the Faculty, both for nostalgic reasons and because many of the lecturers taught me or studied together with me. I think our Faculty is an excellent institution.” 

When asked about the interface between Holocaust and law, Attorney Barnea discusses the case of the trial of Israel Kasztner: a criminal libel case that was heard in accordance with the decision of the attorney general after Kasztner was accused of aiding the Nazis. “Today MK Merav Michaeli, who is Kasztner's granddaughter, called me and we discussed libel law as she is due to give a lecture on the subject. Libel law in Israel changed dramatically following the Kasztner trial. This is an example of a case in which a legal ruling reflected a new value-based approach. After the trial, for example, Attorney General Chaim Cohen ordered that no more indictments should be served against Jews whose names had been mentioned as ostensible collaborators with the Nazis. Kasztner had not actually been indicted, but in the wake of the affair Chaim Cohen (who was also the prosecutor in part of the trial) reached the conclusion that Israel’s Nazi and Nazi Collaborators Punishment Law was not intended to apply to Jewish collaborators but to those from other nations. The Jews were the victims, and you can’t judge them.” 

Another story that illustrated the moral questions that law raises in the context of the Holocaust concerns German legal experts. “In 1942, German legal experts serving in the Ministry of Justice in Germany complained that the murder of Jews was not formally defined in legislation. They weren’t bothered by the murder itself, but they wanted things to be properly organized… They went to see their minister, and the minister met with Heinrich Himmler, head of the SS, who received jurisdictional authority over all the Jews under German rule and influence. The slaughter continued under the new legal arrangement. This is a thought-provoking story. Must a decision be moral before it can be professional? Must the law itself be moral? These are the issues we discuss in the course. The hero of the film Mephisto is an actor who is often invited by the Nazis to perform for them. The actor had been opposed to the Nazis, but he enjoys the honor the regime grants him. His friends are appalled by his behavior, but he claims that he is “just an actor” with no connection to morality. A lawyer cannot seriously make the same argument: you are never just a lawyer. By virtue of being a lawyer, you serve certain values, and if you do not do so, you will bear the consequences. The shock we experience as the result of our exposure to the Nazi period should influence our lives.” 

Another issue the course discusses is that of the prosecution of Nazis. For example, how should we respond to the claims raised by Eichmann’s attorney that his client had been apprehended contrary to the laws of the country in which he was resident, so that the subsequent legal proceeding was improper? Eichmann’s attorney also claimed that the legality of the trial was marred by double retroactivity: Not only was the law on account of which Eichmann was tried enacted after the actions attributed to him were committed, but it was passed by a state that was not even in existence at the time the acts were committed. “The court rejected both arguments. On the former aspect, it determined – on the basis of extensive international case law – that the question of the violation of the laws of the third country in which the defendant was captured does not affect the authority of the Israeli court. The relevant question is whether, once he reached Israel’s jurisdiction, he was treated properly, as was indeed the case. As for the second argument, the court established that the content of the Nazi and Nazi Collaborators Punishment Law is declarative in nature. All the principles in the law, such as the prohibition against murder, are well known and well established. Eichmann was aware of these prohibitions and could reasonably have anticipated that if the regime changed in his country, the Nazi leaders would be prosecuted. In other words, it is reasonable to assume that he anticipated such a punishment. The fact that it was Israel that prosecuted him, rather than another country, makes no difference. Even if Israel had been established the day before, it was merely applying well-established principles in a declarative manner. In this context, Israel argued that in the wake of the Second World War, the balance between the principle of sovereignty and the principle of rights should be changed. In some instances, it is justified to intervene in the affairs of a state that is grossly violating human rights. The problem is that today this legal change is being used against us…” 

A further issue raised in the course that was also raised in the Eichmann trial concerns the limits of obedience. “Eichmann said that all people are supposed to obey the law, and even more so a soldier or policeman. In my opinion, the general obligation of obedience is the result of agreement with the values and regime of the state. A humanist and democrat should observe the laws of a democratic state even if he disagrees with them, because the norm of lawlessness is more dangerous to these values and this regime than an immoral law. Of course, it is right to act by legal means to change the bad law. In Israel, the Declaration of Independence defines our values, and our regime is democratic. If I were convinced beyond all reasonable doubt that Israel is no longer a Jewish state or a democratic state, I would consider revolting against it and against its laws. I prefer to grind my teeth and accept bad laws rather than encourage the collapse of the system and much greater damage to my values. Accordingly, I will obey any order that is not grossly unlawful. The situation is different in the case of an undemocratic regime, where the possibility that the regime might collapse is of no concern to me. To return to the German soldier: if he is a humanist, he cannot accept the values of the state as they are. Clearly he must not vote for Hitler or volunteer to take part in the crimes committed by the Nazi state. If he is brave enough, he should act to encourage the collapse of the Nazi regime.” 

What current-day legal issues are relevant to Holocaust survivors? 
“Firstly, the prosecution of Nazis. There are very few Nazi criminals left alive today, and they are dealt with, to a varying degree, by the authorities in the countries in which they live. For two generations, the State of Israel has concentrated instead on tracking anti-Israeli activity around the world – in some cases activity that is connected to modern-day anti-Semitism. 

“Secondly, the Israeli Ministry of Welfare states that some 180,000 Holocaust survivors are living in Israel. Every four minutes, one of them dies. My parents, for example, are no longer with us. Other criteria for defining survivors put the figure as high as 300,000. Many survivors died without being aware of their rights and without receiving care; the state’s excuse is that they did not contact the relevant bodies. In Amcha we help any Holocaust survivor and offer therapy, social and rehabilitation clubs, and home visits by volunteers. We help 18,000 survivors on a regular basis. Although the number of survivors in Israel is falling, the number of requests for our help is rising, because as the survivors get older, memories flood them and people are often left alone and in need of help. I think it’s a shame that we have only started to pay attention to the rights of various groups of Holocaust survivors since Olmert’s government. What worries me is this: if we can’t be fully empathetic toward people who have suffered more than anyone else, then who will we show compassion for? I’m worried about the attitude of the state and society toward other disadvantaged groups, because if we’ve failed the test when it comes to Holocaust survivors, maybe we are too hard-hearted. That’s one of the reasons why in Amcha we try to help any survivor who turns for us to help – as a broader message to society.” 

Lastly, what differences do you see between your work as a university lecturer and your role as a school principal? 
“There’s a very big difference. The age gap between school and university is very significant. University students are much more serious – you can’t expect that from 16-year-olds. Students join the course on a voluntary basis, and that influences their motivation and the quality of discussions. Apart from that, not everyone is accepted to study law at the Hebrew University. The standard of discussion can be very high, which is a real intellectual pleasure. The thing that makes me happiest is to hear feedback from students at the end of the course saying that it has influenced the way they see the world – even in the case of students in their forties. The personal stories that emerge during the discussions are often moving and make the course a meaningful experience for me, too.” 

Law and Social Work - An Unlikely Match?

Law and Social Work – An Unlikely Match?

 

Of all the interesting combinations offered by the Faculty of Law, the joint degree with social work is particularly intriguing. Despite the real differences between the two disciplines, students taking the joint program explain that the two distinct worldviews are actually complementary.

 
-Yuval Simhi-


“I went to court with a woman who had suffered serious violence from her partner. An attorney had been appointed for her by the state, and since she was nervous about the process and its outcome she asked him to explain what would happen. He was very impatient with her and told her that she would just have to go into court and see what happens. I could tell that he was unable to understand the ramifications of the trial for her life, and it was clear that she needed encouragement and support.” This incident was related by Hodaya Moshel, a fourth-year student who is studying a combined degree in social work and law, when I asked her what connection she sees between the two departments. 

At first glance, law and social work might seem to be far removed from each other, demanding a different education and training. Despite this, a unique program offered by the Faculty of Law combines the two fields, offering a fascinating perspective for both lawyers and social workers. “Many of the students in the program will tell you that the two fields complement each other. Each of these subjects seems very incomplete when it stands on its own,” says Noa Baruch, a second-year student in the program. “In my opinion, law touches on every area of life. Wherever you look, in every field and subject, in every job and institution, you can find law. It is always a very important tool. Social work is also a field that is present in all strata of life.”

Lena Romanovsky is another second-year student in the program. “The connection is obvious once you focus in and start to pay attention. But it’s easy to ignore it. In every social work class, there comes a moment when I think to myself ‘that’s why you need to study law, too.’ The stories students tell about the different places where they undergo training show how much they need the broader and different understanding that is provided by the world of law.” 


 The combined degree in social work and law is considered one of the most demanding and prestigious programs offered by the Faculty of Law. Students in the program are required to gain 209 credit points over four years. They must also undertake practical work as required by the Social Work Department and meet the various obligations for a law degree. While the students enjoy a diverse, interesting, and enriching experience, they also face considerable pressure. “The main way we cope with the pressure is through mutual help,” Lena explains. “We try to pool our strengths and cooperate. We’d be happy if there were a special program to provide more scholarships for students who combine social work and law. That would prove that people recognize the importance of legal training in social work, on the one hand, and of providing legal experts with a social perspective, on the other.” Noa adds: “You have to prioritize. Many of us find it difficult to cope with our very crowded timetable.”

Tell us about an average week in the life of a student in the combined social work and law program 
“We have five long days of classes each week. We are studying two degrees simultaneously,” Lena emphasizes. The students in the program come to university every day in order to complete around 60 credit points each year. “It’s very hectic. Even in the fourth year I’m still studying five days a week. It’s a tough program,” Hodaya confesses. 

Why did you choose this combination? 
Noa: “In the army I was an officer responsible for working with injured soldiers, and it was obvious to me that I’d go on to study social work after I completed my service. When I began to find out more about the profession and the subject, I felt that something was missing. It seemed to me that law could be a very effective and important tool to combine with social work. So basically I came to law studies based on the idea of being a social worker who had an additional tool.” By contrast, Lena’s first area of interest was law. “In the army I worked as an officer responsible for soldiers’ conditions of service. I didn’t like the social workers I met in the course of my work and was convinced that I wouldn’t study that field. But I wanted to study something that would be a tool for social action, and I felt that law met the definition. Later I felt that law wasn’t enough itself, and I looked for a field to combine it with. I considered lots of programs, but none of them felt right. Eventually I discovered the combination with social work. At this point I was still sure that there was no way that I was going to be a social worker, but the combination seemed to fit. As I progressed in my studies my attitude changed, and now I see myself as belonging much more to the field of social work than law.”

MushelResized

Hodaya Moshel

   

LenaResized

Lena Romanovsky

  

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Noa Baruch

 


Hodaya came to the combined course for similar reasons. “I wanted to study something that would provide a social perspective, and I knew that law by itself wouldn’t meet this focus. During my national service I worked as an instructor with a 12th-grade class in a youth village. One of the students was being abused by her father and the social worker told me that there was nothing she could do about it, because the girl wasn’t a minor any more. The social worker couldn’t manage to explain to the girl what she could do to protect herself. At that moment I felt that social workers don’t have tools they could pass on to their clients to help empower them, and that’s why I decided to combine this field with law.” 

What advantage does the program offer? 
“I think it’s fair to say that anyone who completed this program gets a very special perspective that will stay with them for life. The combination of these two fields creates a very broad and enriching kind of training,” says Noa. Hodaya elaborates on her point: “I don’t just think about how to treat a client or how to provide them with legal assistance, but how to combine the two. In the future, I hope that I’ll be able to find a field or job that combines law and social work, with all that implies.” 

Noa says that a few days earlier, she and Lena submitted their forms for the practical training component in social work, which they will begin next year. “I think they try to find areas in social work that have a connection to law, but as I see it the two fields are connected in every area.” Hodaya began her practical training last year and says that she has managed to find the connection. “I was placed in the Adult Probation Service. I had a 20-year-old client who had committed an offense just after he turned 18. As I worked with him over the course of the year, I realized that this was his first offense. In legal terms it was a gray area, because he hadn’t committed a serious offense. But the conviction had ruined his life. He wasn’t in any kind of framework. He had been working as a security guard, and after his conviction he was forced to leave his job. I didn’t think that the conviction was fair, so I contacted the legal clinics at the Faculty, and they helped me to file an application with the court. The application was accepted and his conviction was deleted. I think in this case I was really able to touch the seam line between the two fields.” Hodaya adds that there are other practical training placements in social work that combine very successfully with law. One example is the field of public housing. 

It seems that these two fields have more in common than they have apart, and the combination of law and social work is becoming increasing popular. One can only hope that the field will continue to develop and to attract students. 

Standing on the Shoulders of Giants

Standing on the Shoulders of Giants

 

A former state comptroller, a retired judge, and a recipient of the Israel Prize find themselves together in the same place. This is a daily occurrence in the Faculty of Law at the Hebrew University. Leading and influential figures from the Israeli legal world effectively established the Faculty and continue to come here to teach and engage in research. 

-Yuval Simhi- 

If you’ve walked along the corridor by the dean’s office and the lecturers’ rooms, you must have noticed the photographs of leading lights from the Israeli legal world: retired judges, recipients of the Israel Prize, Israeli ambassadors to the United Nations, and other emeritus faculty members who have filled important positions in Israeli society in general, and in the Israeli legal system in particular. 

Faculty Dean Professor Yuval Shany explains that the idea behind displaying the photographs is to preserve the Faculty’s heritage. “In recent years, we have made an effort to develop the heritage of the Faculty. Of course, we were the first law faculty in Israel and we are still the leading faculty. But we have another important asset: the students and teachers who studied and taught here have gone on to shape the Israeli legal system and to fill the most important positions.” 

 

The “Emeritus Faculty Row” is just part of a broader heritage project that will also include an exhibition about the history of the Faculty, an exhibition of Supreme Court justices who have been involved in the life of the Faculty, and so forth. “The Emeritus Faculty Row will help us to remember these figures. As time progresses and we move further away from the Faculty’s founding years, it’s important to us that the younger generation of students who are currently attending the Faculty – and even more so those who will come here in the future – be aware of our heritage and appreciate that they form a link in a long chain of jurists who have studied and taught here.” 

To this day, the founders of the Faculty continue to play an integral and important part in research, teaching, and Faculty life. “Our relationship with the older emeriti is very warm,” Professor Shany explains. “Even though they have retired, we see them as part of the Faculty family and part of our team of researchers. We are very proud that many emeriti who have retired in recent years continue to teach at the Faculty on a voluntary basis. This is a wonderful resource that gives our young students an opportunity to study with giants such as Professor Gavison, Professor Ben-Menachem, Professor Klein, Professor Libson, Professor Shetreet, Professor Gilad, Professor Kretzmer, and many other distinguished names.” 
 

lapidot2

Professor Ruth Lapidoth

 

Professor Ruth Lapidoth, a recipient of the Israel Prize for legal research, is one of Israel’s most senior legal experts. She graduated in the first class of students to complete their studies at the Faculty and remembers the early days, when the classes were held in halls at Ratisbonne monastery in downtown Jerusalem. 

The change in the location of the Faculty is by no means the only change that Professor Lapidoth has seen over the years. “The biggest change is the faculty and the range of options open to students. When we studied in the first class, most of the courses were taughtby external teachers, many of whom were judges. They were good teachers, but this wasn’t their main occupation. Now we have teachers who are themselves graduates of the Faculty and people whose main field is academic work, and this is much better for the students.” Professor Lapidoth also commented on the options now open to students. “Back in our time, most of the program consisted of compulsory courses, with just a few elective courses. It was very hard to get approval to combine law studies with another department. For example, I wanted to study international relations. I asked the dean for permission, and his reply was, ‘You’d be better off spending your time watching theatre or movies.’ And that’s what I did. Today there is a wide range of elective courses, and this really benefits the students. Another change is that the Faculty now provides programs in English, which I believe broadens the students’ minds.” 

Professor Lapidoth also comments on a difference between the students in the early classes and those who come to the Faculty today. “My class had a difficult demographic profile. It was just after the War of Independence. Some of the students had been injured during the war and most of them were older than today’s intake. The composition of the student population was challenging. I think things are a bit simpler these days, and this makes life easier for the students and the lecturers.” 

On the other hand, Professor Lapidoth reveals that in at least two ways, the students of her time were just like their contemporary peers: their sense of humor and their fear of snowstorms in Jerusalem. “I remember that one lecturer was really boring, and the students brought in a chicken and put it on his desk. It wasn’t exactly polite... Another amusing incident involved a lecturer who came from England and whose Hebrew was rather poor. Instead of referring to a British judge who sat at the head of the panel, the lecturer told us that the judge had sat on the head. I remember that the same year there was a heavy snowstorm and some students were afraid to come to class. But this same lecturer, who was already over 80 years old, turned up like clockwork.” 

Professor Lapidoth brings up another memory concerning the obligation to come to class. “In those days, the student had to get the teacher to sign their register at the beginning and end of each semester. We had one very young lecturer who taught us an introductory course in economics. At the end of term, one student who had forgotten to get the lecturer to sign his register went to the lecturer’s home. The professor opened the door and the student looked at him and asked to speak to his father. That showed just how many times he had been in class.” So perhaps yesteryear’s students weren’t so different, after all. 

Professor Lapidoth emphasizes that she still maintains a close relationship with the Faculty. “I come in three or four times a week, because I am undertaking research work. I still ‘live’ here and feel part of the Faculty. The deans, the administrative staff, and my colleagues all make me feel very welcome here.” Professor Lapidoth adds that she has seen a change in recent years: “I get the feeling that at our Faculty it’s really fashionable these days to undertake research into theoretical subjects. That’s all well and good, and it certainly hones the mind, but law isn’t philosophy. It’s a practical discipline. I’d suggest that the teachers would do well not to belittle practical aspects.” 

“The Faculty” also recently interviewed Professor Joshua Weisman, another recipient of the Israel Prize for legal research and one of Faculty’s veteran teachers. In the interview we asked Professor Weisman to comment on two questions: What do you think has changed at the Faculty since your day? And where would you like to see the Faculty in the near and distant future? Professor Weisman replied that in the early days, the Faculty saw its main purpose as the developing of Israeli law. This has changed over time, and the focus has increasingly shifted to the external field. Signs of this include the reluctance of legal researchers to investigate Israeli law, the adoption of the American tendency to the theorization of law, a research focus on issues likely to interest the editors of American legal journals, and the displacement of Hebrew by English in writing and discourse. The Faculty has also adopted the American practice of charging students with the task of editing its legal journal. This practice is unusual in the academic world outside the United States, and even there it is not common practice in academic disciplines other than law. On the other, American legal education has had a positive influence in terms of the way the Faculty manages its affairs in various areas. 

See here for Professor Weisman’s full answers to the questions  

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Professor Joshua Weisman

Students

Students

-Yuval Shoham-

 

Name: Betty Tegegn

 

Age: 19

 

Year: 1

 

The facts: Betty was born in Ethiopia and came to Israel at the age of three. She is studying at the Faculty in the academic reserves; after completing her studies, she will serve in the Military Advocate General’s Corps. “I know that when people look at me, they usually assume that my behavior is typical of the entire Ethiopian community. So I try to do everything as well as possible so that I make a good impression,” Betty admits. “When I arrived at the Faculty, it surprised me that I was the only Ethiopian in my year. I was a bit shocked and disappointed, but it also encouraged me to work hard, as if I have to prove everything by myself. I was also the only Ethiopian student in my elementary school and I had first-hand experience with people who were prejudiced even as small children. But it gave me a very firm and strong foundation in life.”

 

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Why law? “One thing that encouraged me to study law was my experience as an Ethiopian Israeli. For example, I remember that on the day of the Ethiopian demonstration in Tel Aviv, I was watching reports on television, because I am a volunteer in the Civil Guard and I’m not allowed to participate in demonstrations. It was driving me crazy not to be there. An Ethiopian guy was speaking and started to list all the difficulties he has faced. I could really relate to what he was saying, and after a while I started crying. I haven’t experienced discrimination personally, but when the struggle started you realize that if you haven’t, then your neighbor or family have experienced inequality. When I was in high school I imagined that the Members of Knesset sit down seriously, work out their opinions, debate, and consult with experts. When I realized how things really work I told myself the law is a great platform for changing things, for righting social wrongs from the root. By the way, I wrote my end-of-year paper on the subject of affirmative action, which I strongly oppose. Instead of dealing with the root of the problem, that just sweeps things under the carpet.” 

 

A second hearing“Despite her heavy study schedule, Betty manages to find time to volunteer and get involved in a range of activities. “I volunteer in the Breira Center and the local claims court, and I work in the Jerusalem Institute of Justice, which is active in the field of Israeli outreach, human rights, and help for disadvantaged populations. I mainly undertake research for the outreach work – collecting materials, writing, and translating. I’m also active in the university debating club. When it was my turn to speak, I went up to the podium and started shouting at everyone. I serve as the Faculty representative to the general student union, I’m a police volunteer, and I work as an instructor in a school as part of the Social Entrepreneurship project.

 

 

 

Name: Chen Feder

 

Age: 25

 

Year: 2

 

The facts: Chen, who comes from Haifa originally and lives in the French Hill neighborhood of Jerusalem, took part in a student exchange with the University of Toronto in August. He is currently working in the Yossi Havilio law firm, which specializes in public law. “In one of our cases, we are trying to save Nachman Square in Nahalat Shiva from a private developer who is trying to seize control of the area and hold performances there without taking into consideration that harm that will be caused to the neighbors,” Chen explains.

 

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Why law? “I served as an officer in the Artillery Corps during my military service, because I wanted to give as much as I could. I tried to think of a way to do something meaningful after the army, and I realized that the best way was to study law. I think the Faculty gives us lots of tools we can use in the future to help people, and enables us to look at things from a different angle.”

 

A second hearingChen volunteers in a special project to provide free legal aid for Jerusalem residents. He says that he heard about the project soon after it began. “When I arrived at the Faculty, I heard about the project from someone who had just graduated. At that point the project wasn’t really able to get off the ground. I contacted Attorney Yossi Havilio, who I now work for and who was the project coordinator at the time, and we planned ways to get it moving. Now the project works with three attorneys who come for a few hours once every two weeks to meet residents of Jerusalem and provide them with free legal aid in all fields, except criminal and family law. My job is to receive requests for assistance, refer them to the appropriate attorney, and later contact the residents and make sure that things worked out. For example, I recently had a case of a woman who had been dismissed without receiving compensation. We wrote a letter to the employer and he paid what was due. Some of our cases eventually lead to lawsuits. For example, many residents have complained about a serious shortage of parking places close to the new Arena stadium. We decided to submit a court petition obliging the municipality to allocate additional parking places.

 

 

 

 

Name: Yael Sheffer

 

Age: 22

 

Year: 2

 

The facts: Yael began to study law at the University of Haifa, but after her first year she transferred to the Hebrew University. “I was in Thailand when I got the results of my psychometric examination and I was a bit disappointed,” she recalls. “I decided to apply for university just to see whether they would accept me. The registration period in Jerusalem had already ended, so I applied to the University of Haifa, where I lived. I really enjoyed my studies there, but I decided to move because I wanted to live away from home for a while, and also because the Faculty in Jerusalem is considered the best in Israel.” Yael is also active in the student wing of Meretz. She expects to work in the public sector in the future, but she also admits that “I’m one of those students who will get to interview week without really knowing what they want to do.”  

 

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Why law? Yael says that she was always attracted to law: “I watched Law & Order from the age of five. Before I began to study law, I saw it as a tool for social and political change, and these are definitely the areas that attracted me to the world of law.” After two years of law studies, Yael now understands that the picture isn’t quite so rosy: “I’ve found out that there are lots of things in law that actually prevent change and perpetuate the status quo. I think that the more significant changes are created outside the field of law.” Yael adds that the legal knowledge she has acquired helps her in her political activities: “Meretz is strongly committed to promoting human rights and democratic principles, and my law studies definitely help me to understand these areas more fully.” 

 

An additional hearing: “In the 10th grade I participated in the Seeds of Peace program, which is a one-month summer camp in Maine (in the US) attended by Jewish, Palestinian, Egyptian, Jordanian, and American youth. It’s a classic American summer camp – you take part in activities and camp out together. But once a day we all met for one and a half hours of political discussion. We talked about key issues and tried to learn to understand the other side. The camp was a very powerful experience for me and had a strong influence on my political opinions. Most young people are taught to have a very one-sided view, and university is the first time that they encounter alternative political narratives. I was exposed to this at a younger age, partly through the summer camp, and that’s shaped the way I think. Once you see the ‘enemy’ as a human being, rather than an amorphous and abstract character, the way you understand the conflict changes. Of course some of my friends maintained their right-wing views after the program, but I think they also have a better understanding of the other side now.”

 

Name: Avital Keltz

 

Age: 18

 

Year: 2

 

The facts:Avital was born in Paris, France and came to Israel when she was in the 6th grade. She has lived in Jerusalem with her family since they arrived in Israel. In August she will be taking time out from her studies to join the army, and after two years she will come back and begin her third year. “Actually I didn’t want to move to Israel. I didn’t know anyone here and I don’t have family here. Fortunately I could speak fluent Hebrew because I went to a Jewish school in France, so I settled in relatively quickly.”

 

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Why law? “After I finished high school I couldn’t join the army, because I was still too young, so I went to work for a law firm, because I knew that I wanted to work in that field. Even in France I used to tell everyone that I wanted to be a lawyer and a judge. I always liked debates and discussions, and in particular I liked to win the debate – to be the one who presents the best arguments. I remember that I used to count how many French fries I had got compared to my brothers and how many times each of us had to set the table. I always had a drive for justice.”

 

An additional hearing: Avital was only 17 when she arrived at the Faculty, but she soon managed to make friends with students who are several years older than her. “It was a bit weird at first. Everyone around me at the Faculty has already been in the army and they talk about it, so in a way it feels as if I’ve already done it too, and I’m going there again.”

The Faculty Then and Now

The Faculty Then and Now

 

 
-Prof. Joshua Weisman -


 Question: What do you think has changed at the Faculty since your day? 

I’ll mention a few changes that have occurred at the Faculty over the years. Some of the changes I’ll mention are welcome. As for the other kind of changes, it may well be that these only seem to me to be less welcome because of nostalgia and the tendency to long for the past, even when the past wasn’t so wonderful. 


The first generation of teachers at the Faculty was very diverse. I don’t think I had two teachers at the Faculty whose legal training was in the same country. The teachers who taught me received legal training in Italy, Austria, France, Belgium, England, and the United States. Naturally this influenced the content of the studies. We were exposed to comparative law in a very clear way back then, and that left a mark on the students who later became teachers at the Faculty. The comparative approach was second nature for many of them. 

Today, by contrast, when the whole world is subject of the influence of “globalization,” the Faculty has decided to confine itself to “Americanization.” Most of today’s teachers received their legal training for advanced degrees at universities in the United States. Naturally this has a strong influence on the subjects of the studies undertaken by the Faculty teachers today and on the teaching they provide. 

During the early years of the Faculty, its principal interest was the development of law in Israel. Teaching and research focused on Israeli law during this period. The Faculty’s Institute for Legislative Studies and Comparative Law received requests from the Ministry of Justice and other government departments to help prepare laws on various subjects. A team of researchers from diverse legal backgrounds worked at the Institute and focused mainly on comparative research regarding these proposed laws. 


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Professor Joshua Weisman

During this period, Faculty teachers were often invited to lecture at training days for judges, and the Faculty’s publications from the period include several booklets of lectures given by Faculty teachers at such training courses. 

In preparing Faculty students for advanced degrees, the Faculty attempted in the past to encourage them to concentrate on Israeli-Jewish legal culture. Professor Tedeschi, for example, who was one of the pillars of the Faculty during its founding years, suggested that the Faculty council require students for doctorate degrees to pass an examination in Hebrew Law. His proposal recognized the fact that Hebrew law constitutes a central component of our cultural and legal tradition. 

Similarly, Professor Avigdor Levontin, a prominent teacher at the Faculty since its establishment, proposed that outstanding students beginning doctorate studies undertake their studies in Israel, rather than abroad, in order to ensure that their research subjects address Israeli law. He proposed that the important stage of exposure to overseas academia take place in the framework of post-doctorate training courses. 

Although these proposals did not enjoy universal approval at the time, they reflect the prevailing Zeitgeist. Back then, the Faculty saw its purpose as the development of Israeli law, and it concentrated most of its efforts in this direction. Over the years a change occurred in this respect and the focus of attention shifted outward. This is reflected in the fact that the Faculty effectively encourages students to undertake their doctorate studies abroad, and particularly at universities in the United States. The significant loss this entails in terms of research into Israeli law hardly needs to be explained. The important doctorate studies by the Faculty’s students are devoted to topics of interest to American law, rather than Israeli law. 

If the phenomenon of the Americanization of legal research were confined to the topics of doctorate theses, its damage would be limited. However, the Americanization of legal education in Israel has had far wider ramifications. Legal scholars in Israel tend to choose topics for their studies that are likely to appeal to the editorial boards of American law journals, and needless to say these boards have no particular interest in articles addressing Israeli law. 

The phenomenon of the reluctance of legal scholars to examine the law of their own country has reached an extreme in Israel that is exceptional in the world of legal research. 

This phenomenon has been discussed by Professor Oren Gazal-Ayal of the University of Haifa in his article “Comments on the Past and Future of the Economic Analysis of Israeli Law (published in Mechkarei Mishpat, Vol. 23 (2007), 661 (in Hebrew)), and by Professor Haim Zandberg of the College of Management Academic Studies (who also teaches frequently at the Faculty in Jerusalem) in his article “Cultural Colonialism: The Americanization of Law Education in Israel” (published in Hamishpat, 27 (2009), 52 (in Hebrew)). The following sentence, taken from Professor Gazal-Eyal’s article, expresses in a nutshell the anomalous situation in which we now find ourselves: 

“Law is still an essentially local discipline, and so it is perceived in most of the developed countries of the world… The [Israeli] academic system distances scholars more than anywhere else in the world from addressing domestic law.” (Ibid., 683) 

This anomalous situation is reflected in numerous ways in the life of the Faculty. In the past, for example, the Faculty would invite guests from leading positions in the Israeli law system to discuss topical issues and problems. The guests included the president of the Supreme Court, the attorney general, the state attorney, the justice minister, and so forth. Today, in most cases, the guests invited by the Faculty are law professors from the United States, who tell us about legal issues on the agenda of American society. 

Due to the federal character of the United States, and the legal differences between its various states, American law faculties that seek to function as national institutions generally avoid discussion of the law of any particular state. Instead, they focus in teaching and research on general and theoretical issues that are common to all the states. The study of the specific law of individual states is left to professional schools that provide the aspects not covered by university law studies after the students have graduated. 

Israel has adopted the American tendency to the theoreticization of law and the avoidance of national law, even though some of the considerations that explain this trend in the United States do not apply to Israel (the federative structure, as noted above). In the past, following the enactment of important laws or major court rulings, teachers from the Faculty would publish articles in Israeli law journals explaining, analyzing, and criticizing the relevant developments. This does not usually happen these days. In the past, the law journals regularly included columns such as “Case Law Comments” or “On the Sidelines of Legislation.” Such columns no longer form a regular part of contemporary law journals. 

This alienation in teaching and research from the legal system that applies in this country is a phenomenon that is unparalleled at law faculties in any other country, with the exception of the United States. 

Another recent development that is also the product of the adoption of the American model for legal research is the impact on writing and discourse at the Faculty itself. These increasingly take place in English, displacing the Hebrew language. Thus, for example, invitations to lectures at department seminars, workshops, and other Faculty activities routinely present the titles of the lectures in English only – even when the lecturer is an Israeli Faculty member, the audience consists solely of Israelis, and the lecture itself is given in Hebrew. In “War and Peace,” Tolstoy offers an ironic depiction of the fashion among the Russian intelligentsia of his day to pride themselves on their use of French, and to pepper their speech with French phrases, whether these were needed or not. Where is our own Tolstoy who could speak out against this English deluge?! 

The practice of charging students with the task of editing academic journals is not common at universities in the United States in fields other than law. For example, it is not accepted practice in journals in the fields of philosophy, medicine, or mathematics. This practice is certainly not accepted in the wider academic world: we will not find it at the top universities in Paris, Oxford or London, where it is understood that the task of editing requires professional specialization and experience. 

It may be that when Israeli academics adopted the unusual American model in this respect, they failed to give due attention to an important distinction between law students in the US and their Israeli peers. In the United States, law is a postgraduate field. In other words, students entering an American law faculty already hold an academic degree. In Israel, by contrast, the formal educational background of most law students is confined to their high school matriculation certificate. 

I will conclude my comments about our Faculty then and now by mentioning some innovations we have adopted from the American model that have not provoked disagreement and objections. For example, the curriculum originally included a large number of compulsory subjects. Under the influence of the American model, many of these subjects are now elective. Another decision, taken during the early days of the Faculty, was to adopt the principle of anonymity in examinations. This was probably also a product of American influence, and this principle was later adopted by the other faculties at the university. Lastly, the placement system, which helps students find internships, is clearly a welcome imitation of the system used at law faculties in the United States. 

To sum up: Over the years, our Faculty has managed to become one of the best “faculties of American law” in the United States. The challenge it faces is how not to allow this achievement to come at the expense of its character as the best Israeli law faculty.

Theater and Law

Theater and Law

 

For a decade the Faculty of Law has offered a unique workshop addressing the interface between law and theater. To an outside observer the two fields might seem to have little in common, but those who have experienced their common aspects report that the connection is evident and even intuitive.

 
-Yuval Simhi-


“We established the workshop 10 years ago,” begins Professor Hanina Ben Menachem, the founder of the program. “I thought of the idea after spending time at Harvard Law School as a visiting Professor. Some of my brightest and hardest-working students there participated in a theater workshop and I was very impressed by the idea. When I first suggested this idea here in Jerusalem, the senior echelon at the Faculty wasn’t very enthusiastic at first, but I didn’t give up. I waited for some personnel changes and eventually the idea was accepted. I have to admit that we had to struggle for the first few years. But the present dean is supportive, and I think that the theater workshop has become an honorary citizen at the Faculty. I hope this will continue to be the case in the future.” 

The first play staged by the workshop 10 years ago, called “Peeking,” dealt with the subject of trafficking in women. “Many of the participants in the first workshop were women students who were also working in a legal clinic focusing on prostitution. The students told me that they couldn’t relate to the women they worked with at the clinic. That changed after they took part in the play, because they had to put themselves in these women’s shoes. After the play the students told me that their attitudes had changed and they could understand the women now. As I see it, every attorney has to put themselves in someone else’s shoes whenever they appear in the court. The trick is to identify with the other person, but not totally. We don’t want someone who plays the part of a criminal to identify so much that they adopt a criminal lifestyle. The actor has to understand the balance between identification on the one hand and maintaining a distance on the other. These are skills that can be practiced in the theater,” Professor Ben Menachem explains. 


If we stopped someone on the street and asked them whether there is any connection between law and theater, they might well have a hard time thinking of any points of contact. “The legal field has a serious image, whereas the theater is perceived as part of the world of entertainment and fun. But I don’t think that’s really true. A trial is basically a play that unfolds before us. There are also deeper philosophical connections between the model called the theater and the model called the trial. The workshop exposes the students to these connections, and I think this helps them become more sensitive lawyers and human beings and to understand the other side. You can read and hear about the other, but there’s nothing like playing the role of the other.” 

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Professor Hanina Ben Menachem

 Professor Ben Menachem says that every year the students who participate in the workshop rate it as one of their best and most enriching experiences during their studies. They do so despite the fact that the workshop demands a lot of time and energy relative to other courses. “In the past, some people in the Faculty weren’t sure that we could award academic credit for the workshop. After all, it doesn’t include lectures, exercises, exams, and so forth. But we need to remember that there are different formats for academic study that can enrich and expand knowledge. Although this learning doesn’t use the routine method, it is surely no less enriching and nurturing. I think it’s a pity that the workshop is a one-year project – it should be a three-year track.” 

At the beginning of June, the Faculty hosted its first international conference on the subject of law and theater. Professor Ben Menachem hopes that the field will continue to develop: “I think the Faculty should develop this field as an academic discipline in its own right, with its center here at the Faculty. Perhaps lecturers at the Faculty could also take part in the workshop alongside the students. The more the Faculty expands the concept of law, the more interesting a place we will be, and the more attractive and fascinating. Law isn’t just about the articles in the legal code, or law and economics, but also about law and culture in the broad sense of the term.” 

The workshop was intensive, including weekly sessions as well as numerous rehearsals toward the end of the year. The participants report that it was an enriching and enjoyable experience. “During the first semester, we performed basic exercises – acting training exercises, improvisation, movement, and so on,” says Rimon Rafaeli, a participant in the workshop. “We also discussed the interface between the theater and law: we had to take court rulings from the criminal field and build the character of the defendant. We wrote monologues for the defendant, tried to understand his feelings, and really got under his skin. In the second semester we began to work on our play. We looked for material and edited the script. I think this experience and acting skills have really helped me to identify with the other. In the final analysis, as an attorney you represent a given individual, and you should develop an ability to identify with any client, whoever they are.” 

Tamar Ventura, another participant in the workshop, highlights the difference between the workshop experience and other courses at the Faculty. “In our regular studies we use our minds rather than our emotions. In the theater, the emphasis is on working on emotions and doing what feels right, rather than what you’re supposed to do. Our work on the play included an adaptation of The Stranger. We read the play, discussed its message, and asked ourselves what we wanted to convey. After a brainstorming session, we began to write and adapt the scenes. We went over each scene and decided what statements needed to be included, what important messages we wanted to convey, and what act or event we wanted to make happen on the stage.” 

Under the direction of Bentzi Faber and Shlomit Cohen-Skali, and with the assistance of the Cohen Wilchik law firm, the group staged the play “Mother Died Today,” based on “The Stranger” by Albert Camus. “The play tells the story of a guy called Marceau, who killed a man,” Tamar explains. “The story also touches on Marceau’s private life – his late mother and his friendship with his pimp neighbor and with his girlfriend Marie. The audience got the impression that during Marceau’s trial the focus was less on the crime he committed and more on his character. The decision in the trial seems to be made more on the basis of the person than on the act he committed.” Tamar confesses that she did not have an intuitive grasp of the connection between theater and law when she began the workshop. “I thought the workshop would be a hands-on experience and break up my routine. That’s why I signed up for it. It was only at the end of the year, when I played the role of Marceau, that I understood the amazing connection between these two worlds. I found it difficult to get into the character and to understand what he was feeling in thinking and how I was supposed to convey that to the audience. I had to undergo a process with this character, and during the course of my work I suddenly thought of a sentence I had heard in one of my classes in the Introduction to Law course. In the class we were discussing the Emanuel case (when a Haredi local authority segregated Ashkenazi and Sephardi students in girls’ schools). The initial instinct of the students was to declare that the segregation was unacceptable, but the teacher asked us to think about it from a different angle: to try to see it from the standpoint of those who we felt had acted improperly and to put ourselves in their shoes. Suddenly, during the rehearsals, I realized what it means to put yourself in someone else’s place. I think this is something that helps us as lawyers. If I want to represent someone, I need to acknowledge that they are not a unidimensional character. They didn’t just ‘breach the contract.’ It’s much more complex than that. Once I manage to understand the individual’s feelings and perceptions, I’ll be able to understand their actions and represent them better. This is also relevant in the context of legal questions such as the clash between interests and rights. In order to create discourse and dialogue with the other, I think that we first and foremost have to put ourselves in their shoes. The workshop focused exactly on this point.”