MUSA: Law and Other Languages for a Just Society in Israel

LL.M. Program

  In collaboration with The Van Leer Jerusalem Institute

MUSA is an LL.M. Program (non-thesis) that aims to re-examine the role of law in Israeli society, in light of the crisis of liberalism in Israel and around the world, and which offers a unique framework for creating a new and unified legal and political language for Israeli society, which is characterized by deep social diversity.

The program is intended each year for a small, high-quality group of young lawyers, attorneys and jurists from all sectors of Israeli society, who are all deeply engaged in social activity in a variety of forms, and have a deep commitment to the prosperity of a diverse Israeli society, through legal tools.

The vision of liberal democracy is facing a deep crisis in Israel as well as in many places around the world. The rise of nationalism and populism, deepening economic disparities and social polarization are undermining the values of liberalism and liberal institutions, including the legal system, media, culture and academe.

In Israeli society, which is characterized by profound cultural and values-driven diversity, liberal values, including universalism, equality, the individual's freedom from tradition and authority, and the principle of the rule of law, fail to serve as a common springboard for a shared life. Liberalism is perceived as standing in opposition to its opponents: democracy versus Judaism; secularity versus religion; the individual versus the collective; globalization versus provincialism; and liberty versus tradition.

The MUSA program seeks to re-examine the fundamental values of liberalism, to re-examine the role of law in the diverse Israeli society, which is characterized by different conceptions of justice, and to offer new directions for a shared life in Israel, in order to find a path to shared living. All this without abandoning the values of liberalism, but with the understanding that they can no longer be a common starting point for all.

The dominant legal language in Israel today identifies with liberal reason and gives precedence to a purely liberal approach that prioritizes the values of individualism, the rule of law and liberty. The premise of the MUSA program is that law is fundamentally connected to other languages and fields of content, such as social, ideological, economic, and emotional languages, and that it is necessary to delve into them in order to obtain new legal thought and new legal discourse, and ultimately to bring about social action in their light.

The MUSA program therefore offers a unique framework for creating a new and unified legal and political language for Israeli society, while cultivating a young generation of lawyers and jurists who will reframe the deep diversity that characterizes Israeli society, in a constructive way that offers a new horizon to all sectors of society, instead of reproducing existing tensions by destructive action.

Among the lecturers in the program are: Prof. Orna Ben-Naftali and Prof. Shai Lavi (the directors of the program), Prof. Michal Ben-Naftali, Dr. Yaacov Ben-Shemesh, Dr. Yael Berda, Dr. Raef Zreik, Prof. Zvi Triger, Dr. Avinoam Cohen, Prof. Hillel Cohen, Prof. Menachem Mautner, Prof. Nissim Mizrachi, Prof. Itamar Mann, Prof. Dani Filc, Dr. Yochi Fischer, and others.

The school year begins in October and lasts one calendar year. Classes take place over two semesters, on Tuesdays from 4-9:30 p.m., and Fridays from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., as well as a two-week summer semester abroad.

The MUSA fellows will receive a full tuition scholarship for one academic year.

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