Vol. 16



Vol. 16 February 2014





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 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.



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.




Short meetings with faculty students



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.

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.





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.






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.



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.”

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.”

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.”




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.


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.


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.”




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.



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.


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.”



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.”



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.”



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.”



Professor Guy Davidov