Blog of the International Journal of Constitutional Law

Conference Report–Fourth Annual ICON-S-IL Conference–11/12 March 2018

Yaniv Roznai, Senior Lecturer, Radzyner School of Law, Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya

On March 11-12, 2018, the fourth annual conference of the Israeli Chapter of ICON-S took place at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya. Since the establishment of the Israeli chapter in 2014, this was the biggest ICON-S-IL conference so far, with about 150 scholars participating in 28 panels that covered the most burning issues in Israeli public law, broadly defined.

The conference was organized by the Radzyner Law School together with the Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy and Strategy at IDC, with the support of Nevo Publishing. The organizing committee was composed of Prof. Rivka Weill (chair), Prof. Aharon Barak, Prof. Lior Barshack, Prof. Asif Efrat, Dr. Adam Shinar and Dr. Yaniv Roznai. Sarai Barzel was the conference’s coordinator.

The conference began with a celebrated opening panel on the Jewish & Democratic character of the state, from the Declaration of Independence to the recent proposed Basic Law: Israel as the Nation-State of the Jewish People. Prof. Uriel Reichman, the President of IDC, proposed to enact Basic Law: Declaration of Independence instead of the new proposed Basic Law; Prof. Aharon Barak, former President of the Israeli Supreme Court and currently a Prof. at IDC, claimed that the Knesset’s constituent authority is limited by the principles enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, and Prof. Ruth Gavizon of the Hebrew University, claimed that while the Knesset has to authority to enact Basic Law the Nation State, in its current form it is an unwelcome legislation. Also participated in the discussion, Prof. Tamar Ross of Bar-Ilan University, Hasan Jabareen, the founder and general director of Adalah—The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, and Dr.  Moshe Hellinger of Bar-Ilan University.

On the second day of the conference, in six sessions of parallel panels, scholars have presented their most recent studies in panels that have dealt with the most burning issues in Israeli public law: empirical studies in Israeli law, the laws of war, human rights in the internet era, the court in an era of settlements, technology and social criticism, on conversion to Judaism, proportionality and preliminary grounds, on the biennial budget, on judicial review and human rights, multiculturalism, religious feminism and Israeli law, LGBT rights, the democratic character of the state, renewed studies in administrative law, judicial involvement in public official’s dismissal, international investigation committees, the welfare state and the executive, religious judges, the boycott law, women’s exclusion, and judicial review of the legislative process.

In addition to these panels, two book discussion panels took place: on Prof. Amnon Rubinstein’s “The Tribes of the State of Israel: Together and Separately; Liberalism and Multiculturalism in Israel” and Prof. Barak Medina’s “Human Rights Law in Israel”. Also, Prof. Rivka Weill debated with the Hon. Justice of the Supreme Court, Prof. Daphne Barak-Erez, the distinctions between academic and judicial writing. At the plenary panel, Prof. Moshe Cohen-Eliya, the President of the College of Law and Business and the co-President of the Israeli chapter of ICON-S, Prof. Amnon Lehavi, the Dean of Radzyner Law School at IDC, Prof. ​Sharon Rabin-Margalioth, the former Dean of Radzyner Law School, and philosopher Prof. Asa Kasher of Tel Aviv University, debated the role of the academy in social involvement, especially in light of the proposed academic code of ethics, written by Prof. Kasher.

In conclusion, this was a fascinating academic gathering that brought-together scholars from all Israeli academic institutions, with expertise in varied branches of law and inter-disciplinary perspectives on public law issues, and that significantly increased the academic integration of the public law (broadly defined) community in Israel.


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