Professor Ruth Gavison was appointed to draft a constitutional provision defining the exact dimensions of what it means for Israel
to be a "Jewish and democratic state", in light of critical social and legal controversies, as well as bills in which all sides of the political map attempt to impose their worldview. Prof. Gavison was appointed by Justice Minister Tzipi Livni.
Livni's address to Prof. Gavison read: "I believe that the time has arrived to draft a constitutional framework that deals with the character of the State of Israel as Jewish and democratic, and anchors the components of the identity in a balanced way, integrating these values, the Jewish and the democratic."
Prof. Gavison said in response: "I thank the justice minister for the faith she has in me. I will act with the purpose of supporting the desire to advance and to constitutionally anchor the identity of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, according to the spirit specified in the Declaration of Independence.
"In my work, I will examine the proposals on the Knesset's desk and consult with the relevant authorities. After an initial proposal will be drafted, it will be delivered to the justice minister and will stand public debate as required."
Prof. Gavison was born in Jerusalem in 1945 and earned her academic education in law at the Hebrew University, where she also taught for some 30 years.
She was one of the founders of The Association for Civil Rights in Israel, and served as president of the organization from 1996 to 1990. From 1995 to 2003 she was a senior associate of the Israel Democracy Institute, where she headed a project that dealt with rifts in the Israeli society, as well as coordinated prolonged dialogues that dealt with the Jewish-Arab and social-economic gaps in Israel.
Prof. Gavison served as member of several public committees, including the Shamgar Commission established to examine the role and appointment of the attorney general and the Winograd Commission examining the Second Lebanon
War. In 2011 she was awarded the Israel Prize for her work and study in the field of legal research.
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