ICON-S Israeli Chapter – Activities report for 2016–2017



Since its establishment in 2014, the Israeli chapter of ICON-S has become a significant player in the academic community of Israeli public and international law. Today, the chapter is not only identified with the activities of the International Association, but is also appreciated for significantly increasing the academic integration of the public and international law community within Israel, while espousing the values ​​of ICON-S and stimulating Constitutionalism.

The main goal of our activity in the past year was to position the Israeli chapter as the central academic society in the field of public law in Israel, and, thus, to increase the association’s exposure among researchers in the field; not necessarily among the general public. In our opinion, this goal was achieved in full, and over the past two years the Israeli chapter has become the main academic hub of inter-university academic activity in the public law realm. Next year, we hope not only to continue but to intensify our work in order to increase the volume of activity and the scope of cooperation even further – both within Israeli academia and beyond.

The main activities that we report this year were all about integrating the research community in Israel around the principles of the Association, including:

The third annual ICON-S-IL conference – (30.03.2017)

The annual conference of the Israeli chapter was held for the third year and has become the focus of the academic public law community in Israel. The conference is already known to all researchers in the field, and participation is at its peak – both by senior as well as junior scholars and by research students. Each year, the ICON-S-IL board nominates one of the faculties of law to assume responsibility for hosting, steering, and organizing the conference. The model gives full discretion to the host institution, while providing academic and administrative support from the chapter.

This year, the conference was hosted by the law faculty of Bar-Ilan University. The conference’s academic committee was comprised of Dr. Ori Aronson, Dr. Ittai Bar-Siman-Tov, Prof. Ariel Bendor, and Dr. Manal Totry-Jubran. The chapter’s Executive and the Secretary-General assisted the academic committee. 60 researchers presented their work in progress at the conference in 14 different panels. The participants  included virtually the entire population of researchers in the field. The conference also included two special workshops and two main plenary sessions. The first plenary session dealt with: “25 to 92′: The constitutional revolution then and now” and the second plenary session dealt with “National Security and Democracy in Israel 2017”. This year, there was also an increase in the number of submissions, including from political science and international relations departments. Collaboration with other institutions also intensified and this is the second year that the Israel Democracy Institute presented a panel at the conference. The conference attracted some media attention in light of the inclusion in the conference program of a session on the legal implications of 50 years of Israel’s belligerent occupation of the West Bank.

Here’s the link to the conference program: http://www.clb.ac.il/uploads/icon-s/program.pdf. The chapter would like to thank Ori Aronson for his exceptional contribution to the academic steering of the conference.


Symposium and a special issue on “The changing landscape of Israeli Constitutionalism

As part of our aspiration to view the study of Israeli comparative constitutional law as a holistic project, the Israeli chapter collaborated with senior researchers and with the International Journal of Constitutional Law to suggest a special issue  for  ICON on “The Changing Landscape of Israeli Constitutionalism.” Israeli constitutionalism has undergone significant changes in recent years, and it seems that the research to date has not kept up with the events. A central goal of initiating this special issue is to stimulate common thinking about trends in this field. Again, we organized the project as a multi-departmental and inclusive project, and selected an academic committee to work on the submissions.

The selection process led to the selection of 5 articles that encompass some of the multifaceted trends and changes in Israeli constitutionalism. The articles were written especially for the issue and were presented at a special symposium held on 22.2.2017 at The College of Law and Business (CLB). Their presentation was accompanied by a discussion and the final drafts of the articles were refereed by the Israeli committee. The papers are currently being  revised and will be submitted to ICON in a symposium issue format in the coming months.

Here’s the link to the symposium program: http://www.clb.ac.il/uploads/icon-s/icon-s.pdf


The Fourth Junior Law Faculty Workshop – (30.03.2017)

This year’s 4th annual Junior Law Faculty Workshop was incorporated into the annual conference and its call for applications was dedicated to new scholarly work in public law. The workshop is a prestigious venue for presenting research of the best young researchers in Israel, and participation is an honor of the highest order. This year, 4 articles written by 5 junior law faculty from the public law community were selected for the workshop and the Israeli chapter hosted the workshop as a special event at the annual conference. Here’s the list of the four winning articles and their authors: http://www.clb.ac.il/uploads/icon-s/workshop.pdf. We have also established a collaboration with the deans of the law schools at Harvard, Stanford, Oxford, and Cambridge, which allows the winners of the competition to be visiting scholars at these law schools with a modest financial support from the College of Law and Business.


A local ICON Blog

After intensive groundwork, the Israeli chapter launched the ICON-S-IL blog, which aims to serve as an online intellectual platform, a passionate and stimulating “Hyde Park” for the public law and international law community in Israel, as well as for all researchers whose work touches on this wide field. Most Israeli public law scholars have agreed to be members of the blog’s assembly, which is comprised of an executive council and a junior editorial board. Members of the latter are also committed to producing content in exchange for membership.

The blog was launched with a mini-symposium (edited by Prof. Gila Stopler) dealing with a contemporary and important question: Is Israel in the midst of a “constitutional capture” or a “constitutional retrogression”? This question was debated with diverse and contradictory views coming from senior Israeli researchers in the field, among them Prof. Ruth Gavison, Prof. Barak Medina, and Prof. Iddo Porat, all writing special contributions. The next symposium (edited by Dr. Adam Shinar) will deal with international law in light of the 50th “anniversary” of Israel’s belligerent occupation of Judea and Samaria. Alongside short essays the blog will publish weekly columns, the first of which has already appeared under the title “What’s New in Israeli Public Law.”

The blog is published in Hebrew with the intention of serving the professional and general community in Israel. We strive to foster collaboration with the world’s leading blog in the field, ICONnect, and to re-publish some of the posts originally published in ICON-S-IL in English translation. We would like to thank the editors of ICONnect – Prof. Richard Albert, Prof. Tom Ginsburg, and Prof. David Landau – whose outstanding work inspired us in our decision to expand the activities of the Israeli chapter to the online world. We hope to create fruitful partnerships between the platforms in the coming months.