Prof. Amnon Rubinstein is the Winner of the 2022 EMET Prize for Law

10 April

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In the words of the award committee, “Prof. Amnon Rubinstein is the founding father of constitutional law in the State of Israel. Prof. Rubinstein truly embodies the vision of the EMET Prize, which alongside excellence in research emphasizes public and societal contributions. He is a role model, and we hope that his hallowed path will pave the way for future generations.”

Prof. Amnon Rubinstein, professor of law and senior faculty member of Reichman University’s Harry Radzyner Law School, is the recipient of the 2022 EMET Prize for Law. Prof. Rubinstein is the 2006 Israel Prize Laureate for Legal Research, and served as minister of education in the second Yitzhak Rabin government and in the government of Shimon Peres. He is an expert on constitutional law, education and human rights. His research and publications deal with various aspects of Israeli law and the legal, social and historical foundations of Israeli society.


The Emet Prize Award Committee provided the following endorsement for its decision:

"Prof. Amnon Rubinstein, recipient of the Israel Prize for Legal Research, is an exemplary figure and one of the State of Israel’s greatest jurists. Prof. Rubinstein's scientific work, which he combined with an extensive political career as well as groundbreaking academic management, deals mainly with constitutional law, from both an institutional constitutional law perspective as well as a human rights law standpoint. His wide-ranging work, which includes dozens of articles and books, is characterized by great innovation and creativity.


“His monumental book, The Constitutional Law of the State of Israel, which was published in 1969 and has since appeared in five editions, is the foundation of constitutional law in Israel, and the most important book to date in this field. Prof. Rubinstein's scientific work has borne abundant fruit. His book The Enforcement of Morality in a Permissive Society makes an outstanding contribution to the analysis of liberalism’s difficult issues, regarding the authority and even the duty of the state to restrict freedoms in order to promote liberal values. In his book Absence of Government: How to Mend Israel’s Broken System, he offered a brilliant analysis of the unique challenges of the Israeli system of governance. In the book Israel and the Family of Nations, written with Prof. Alex Jacobson, and in academic articles written with Prof. Liav Orgad, Prof. Rubinstein offers a comprehensive discussion of the legal aspects of immigration policy in general and the Law of Return in particular. The research is characterized by an enlightening comparative analysis and a fascinating viewpoint regarding the concept of Zionism. These studies of Amnon's are part of his broader engagement with Zionism from both a historical and moral perspective, and have made a tremendous contribution to political philosophy in general and to the understanding of Zionism in particular.


“Another area in which Prof. Rubinstein has made an extraordinary contribution is that of multiculturalism and liberalism. In two books, Tribes of Israel: Together and Apart – Liberalism and Multiculturalism in the Jewish State and The Story of Secular Jews, as well as in academic articles he published on the subject, Prof. Rubinstein succeeded in accurately describing the challenges that arise from respecting the autonomy of non-liberal cultural groups, and proposed a creative and bold approach to reconciling the relations between these groups and a regime that is committed to liberal values. Finally, Prof. Rubinstein made an important contribution to matters concerning academic freedom in his book Academic Flaws: Freedom and Responsibility in Israeli Higher Education, written with Yitzhak Pasha.

“In all of these arenas, Prof. Rubinstein's scientific work was combined with inspiring public activity. This was the case when he, as the first dean of the Tel Aviv University Faculty of Law, took a series of steps that expressed his commitment to the perception that the university is a partnership between researchers and students, steps that significantly strengthened the status of students and respected their rights. This was also the case when he put into practice his in-depth knowledge of Israeli public law, both in petitions to the court as a Member of Knesset and especially in initiatives he took to promote the protection of human rights, which culminated in the enactment of the Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty.


“In all of his research, in his activities as a teacher and an academic leader, as well as in his public service, Prof. Rubinstein has excelled, demonstrated a carefully considered approach along with creativity and innovation, and promoted the values of democracy, liberalism, equality and human rights.”