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Y&S Nazarian Center for Israel Studies mourns the passing of preeminent Israeli legal scholar Ruth Gavison

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Y&S Nazarian Center

The renowned scholar and prominent activist for civil rights was committed to preserving Israel's identity as a Jewish and democratic state.

Y&S Nazarian Center for Israel Studies, August 15. 2020 – Professor Ruth Gavison of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem has died at age 75. Gavison was renowned for her scholarship on the relationship between law and politics; processes of constitution-making; the role of laws and courts in divided societies; and especially on the identity of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state. She was the recipient in 2011 of Israel’s highest state honor, the Israel Prize, for her legal research dealing “deeply and bravely” with these critical issues.

Gavison was also a prominent, outspoken activist for civil rights in Israel. She was the founder and former president of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel. She was also the founding president of Metzilah – a Center for Zionist, Jewish, Liberal and Humanist Thought. Gavison also served on a number of state commissions in Israel, including the Winograd Commission, which investigated the 2006 Lebanon War.

Gavison was deeply committed to preserving Israel’s identity as a Jewish and democratic state, and she believed there was no inherent contradiction between Israel’s Jewishness and its democratic character.

Gavison lectured multiple times at UCLA under the auspices of the Y&S Nazarian Center for Israel Studies, the UCLA School of Law and the Burkle Center for International Relations.

"Ruth Gavison was a brilliant legal theorist, a courageous activist, and a true public intellectual. Her wisdom and her voice will be sorely missed," said Dov Waxman, director of the Y&S Nazarian Center for Israel Studies and The Rosalind and Arthur Gilbert Foundation Chair of Israel Studies at UCLA.