Professor Ruth Gavison
2012, 2013 Undergraduate Student Summer Seminar
Ruth Gavison is Haim H. Cohn Professor emerita of Human Rights at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Professor Gavison has a LLB (cum laude)(1969), an LLM (summa cum laude)(1971), a BA in Philosophy and Economics from the Hebrew University (1970), and a D.Phil in Legal Philosophy from Oxford (1975). She teaches Legal Theory and Human Rights in the Faculty of Law of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She has taught as a visiting Professor at the Yale Law School (1978-1980) and the USC Law Center (1990-1992). In 1998-1999 she was Laurance Rockefeller fellow at the Center for Human Values in Princeton University, where she worked on equality and segregation. In 2011-12 she is a joint Straus/Tikvah fellow at NYU law school centers on the Park, where she is working on liberalism and political identity.
A founding member of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) since 1974, she served for many years as its Chairperson, and was its President in the years 1996-1999. She was a member of the International Commission of Jurists (1998-2008). In 2005 she founded Metzilah – a Center for Zionist, Jewish, Liberal and Humanist Thought - and has served as its President since.
She is the recipient of a number of prizes: the Zeltner prize for excellence in research (1997), the Jerusalem Toleration Prize (2002), the Emet Prize for Law (2003), the Cheshin Prize (2009) and the Israel Prize for legal Research (2011).
In the years 1999-2001 she was involved in an intensive dialogue with Rav Yaacov Medan, which generated a Draft New Covenant between religious and secular Jews in Israel (for the text see www.gavison-medan.org.il.). The authors' covenant won the Avihai prize (2000), and the Toleration Award of The Movement of Toleration (2002).
In 2006-2008 Gavison served as a member of the Commission appointed to investigate the 2006 Lebanon War (the Winograd Commission). Gavison was granted honorary doctorates by the JTS (2003) and by Bar-Ilan University (2009). Her areas of research include the relationships between law and politics, Israel as a Jewish and Democratic State, processes of constitution-making, privacy and the private-public distinction, and the role of laws and courts in divided democracies. Professor Gavison is a frequent contributor to the media in Israel and a regular participant in public debates.