This PJC lecture was held on October 29, 2014.
Professor Gavison is the Haim H. Cohn Professor Emerita of Human Rights Law at Hebrew University Law Faculty. Born in Jerusalem she received an LLB (cum laude) in 1969, LLM (summa cum laude) in 1971, and BA in economics and philosophy (1970), all from Hebrew University. In 1975 she received a D.Phil. in legal philosophy from Oxford University. Her dissertation (Legal Protection of Privacy) was written under the supervision of H.L.A. Hart.
From 1974 she has taught at the Hebrew University. She was a visiting professor at Yale Law School (1978-1980) and Law Center of the University of Southern California (1990-1992) and a Fellow at the Center of Human Values, Princeton University 1998-99, and at the Tikvah-Straus Center at NYU 2011-2012.
Prof. Gavison is one of the founders of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), and served as its Chairperson for many years and President (1996-1999).Published Human Rights in Israel (1995) and edited a three volume reader on Human Rights. She is also the founding president of the Metzilah Center for Zionist, Jewish, Liberal and Humanist Thought.
From 1998-2008, she was a member of the International Commission of Jurists.
A major voice on human rights and constitutional issues and critic of judicial activism trends and the piecemeal constitution developed in Israel. Dr. Gavison published: The Constitutional Revolution: A reality or a self-Fulfilling Prophecy? (2000); (with Kremnitzer and Dotan) Judicial Activism : For and Against" (2000) and "Constitution for Israel: The Lessons of the American Experience" (2002).
In 1999-2001 held a dialogue with Rabbi Yaacov Medan, which culminated in the publication of A foundation for a New Covenant between Jews on Issues of State and Religion in Israel (2003).
Prof. Gavison has written extensively on the meaning and justification of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, while pointing out tensions and ways to accommodate them. E.g. "The Jewish State: Nature and Justification" (2003). In August 2013, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni appointed her to prepare a constitutional provision on what it means for Israel to be a “Jewish and democratic state”.
Prof. Gavison has won the Avihai prize (with R. Medan) in 2001; Jerusalem Toleration prize in 2002; and the EMET prize for law in 2003. She was awarded adoctor honoris causa from the JTS in 2003, and adoctor honoris causa from Bav-ilan University in 2009. She is the first recipient of the Cheshin prize which she received in 2009. She is a 2011 Israel Prize for Legal research laureate.