Prof. Ruth Gavison Z"L

Senior Research Fellow

Ruth Gavison is the Haim H. Cohn Professor (emerita) of Human Rights at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She started her research and teaching career at the HU in 1974. She is the recipient of the 2003 EMET prize in law, the winner of the 2011 Israel Prize for legal research, and a member of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities. 

Prof. Gavison has an LLB (cum laude,1969), an LLM (summa cum laude1971), a BA in philosophy and economics from the Hebrew University (1970), and a DPhil in legal philosophy from Oxford (1975). Her fields of practice include legal theory, law and society, law and politics, protection of the right to privacy, constitutional processes, human rights, religion and state, the court’s role in a polarized society, and Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.  

 A founding member of the Israeli Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) since 1974, she served for many years as its chairperson, and was its president between 1996 and 1999. With Rabbi Yaakov Medan she wrote the Gavison–Medan Covenant for Coexistence between Jews in Israel (2003). She is the founding president of the Metzilah Center for Zionist, Jewish, Liberal and Humanist Thought (2005). She was a member of the Winograd Commission of inquiry into the events of the Second Lebanon War (2006–2008). She was appointed to examine the constitutional anchoring of the vision of the state (2014) as part of the examination of proposals for a nation-state law. 

At the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute she teaches in Intellectual Journeys: The Program for Young Intellectual Leadership. 


The Van Leer Jerusalem Institute mourns the death of our friend, Prof. Ruth Gavison. Gavison, a recipient of the Israel Prize in Law, has been a senior research fellow at the institute for decades. She led programs that addressed the challenges of liberalism in Israel and has contributed to the cultivation of young intellectual leadership. The breadth of mind and spirit that characterized her and her intellectual integrity were an inspiration to us all. Her death is a terrible loss to Israeli society. May her memory be blessed.

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