—Iddo Porat, College of Law and Business
The inaugural conference of ICON·S-Israel, the Israeli branch of the International Society of Public Law, took place in Ramat Gan, Israel, on May 14. ICON·S was created in order to foster an international community of scholars based on the ideas behind the Journal I·CON—a broad perception of pubic law in terms of both doctrinal and physical boundaries, and an emphasis on innovation and cutting-edge research. Following the success of the ICON-S conference in Florence, the idea came up to create local branches of the Society that will link local communities to the international society, and foster the same ideas on the local level. The Israeli branch would be the first such local branch, which will hopefully be followed by others in Australia, Italy and other countries.
In the one day conference that was hosted by the College of Law and Business, and was conducted in Hebrew, there were panels on different areas of public law—constitutional law, administrative law, international law and criminal law—different research perspectives–historical, empirical and cultural—and a mix of Israeli based and globally or theoretically oriented research.
A lively debate took place during the lunch panel around the appropriateness of law review metrics such as the Washington & Lee rankings of law journals, as measures for research excellence, and on the question of whether Israelis are discouraged from publishing in Hebrew because publications in American and European law reviews are considered more prestigious in Israeli Academia.
The concluding panel was in the form of an interview conducted by Joseph Weiler—the founder of both I·CON and ICON·S. Weiler interviewed three distinguished scholars: Ruth Gavison, Moshe Halbertal and Ran Hirschl, on issues relating to Jewish identity, Israeli identity, and clashes between modernity and religion in the Middle East and in Europe, following such dramatic and traumatic events as the rise of ISIS and the terrorist attacks on Charlie Hebdo and Hiper Kasher Supermarket.
The conference revealed once again the rich scholarly activity of Israeli scholars in the area of public law, both young and more established, and will create, so we hope, a framework for future conference and activities of ICON·S-Israel.
Iddo Porat and Gila Stopler