Prof. Ruth Gavison Of Hebrew University Announced Winner Of Israel Prize In Law

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Prof Ruth Gavison of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem Faculty of Law is the winner of the 2011 Israel Prize for legal research, it was announced this week.

Ruth GavisonProf. Gavison is widely recognized as an authority on constitutional law and human rights and on issues related to law and society and state and religion, among other topics.

The Israel Prize jury said that Prof. Gavison’s research “confronts with courage and depth the shaping of Israel’s identity as a Jewish and democratic state.” The jury also noted that her work dealt not only with the content of the law but also with its essence. The jury noted, too, her work in paving the way for bridging the gap between the religious and secular in Israel as well as between the Jewish and non-Jewish populations.

Her research in the area of defense of human rights, especially the rights of privacy, equality and free expression, were also singled out for praise by the awards jury, as was her public activism in those areas.

Prof. Gavison was born in Jerusalem in 1945. She earned three degrees at the Hebrew University and a doctorate in 1975 in legal philosophy at the University of Oxford. Prof. Gavison was appointed to the Hebrew University Faculty of Law in 1969, rising to the rank of full professor in 1990. She has served as a visiting faculty member at the University of Southern California and Princeton University in the US. At the Hebrew University, she has served as the incumbent of the Haim H. Cohn Chair for Human rights and as chairperson of the Minerva Center of Human Rights.

She has also served in numerous capacities in public bodies, including chairperson and president of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel and as a member or fellow of various institutes in Israel and abroad. She also has served on a number of public and governmental committees. She has been a frequent contributor to the media on issues of law, human rights, democracy and Israeli society.

Prof. Gavison has won many awards and honors, including the Hebrew University’s Rector’s Prize for Teaching and Research and the Jerusalem Toleration Award. She was awarded an honorary doctorate by the Jewish Theological Seminary in 2003.

The Israel Prizes are awarded each year on Israel Independence Day, which this year falls on May 10.

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