The warmth that prevailed at the Law Faculty's first graduation ceremony this past June was due not only to the late afternoon sun. The guest speakers, especially Justice Yitzhak Zamir, exuded a palpable friendship and closeness toward the Faculty that made the young children's gamboling on the grass some 50 meters away to the right of the full crowd fit the picture of these particular exercises rather than constitute a disturbance to their formality.
Supreme Court Justice Zamir was, prior to his election to the Bench, the Faculty's first dean (for one year) and the person responsible for the crystallization of the Faculty, which has now completed its fourth year of instruction. Other guest speakers were Chief Justice Aharon Barak, who had chaired the Steering Committee of the Faculty in forma tion; and outgoing Justice Minister David Libai.
Justice Zamir recalled his objection to government officials responding that the country needed engineers when the Law Faculty proposal was first broached to them. It is the right of youngsters in an enlightened society to choose what they want to study, not what the government tells them to, he stated. This credo was in addition to his beli ef at the time that the country did need more lawyers the engineers of the spirit, of society, in his definition especially in the North of Israel.
He was also, he said, firmly convinced of the need for a law school away from the Center of the country, where they were then concentrated, and one that offered a different approach to legal training. did we make a mistake [in setting up the University's Law Faculty]? he asked. No was his unequivocal reply.
Law [in Israel] was not what it once was, he pointed out. The profession has changed in the past five years [since the permission was granted and the charter signed to set up the Faculty with its special curriculum]. The public administration and business worlds would value their legal education, he told the graduates in conclusion.
Chief Justice Barak charged the new lawyers most of the graduates had already completed an internship period and passed the Bar examinations with being the standard bearers in the struggle for making Israel a better society. He advised them not to lock themselves up in their offices, but to be a personal example for the realization of basic valu es and for a generation that seeks justice and its implementation.
Place the human being at the center of your lives, Barak continued, cautioning that democracy was not self-actualizing, but had to be implemented and guarded. They, the members of this first graduating class, were to be the pointmen in this regard. He told the graduates that criticism of the court and court decisions was justified and that judges should be aware that they, too, do err at times. On the other hand, criticism had to be constructive, based on relevant facts, and not every adverse decision meant that the judge was mistaken.
Other commencement speakers were University President Yehuda Hayuth, who said that it had been a ten-year struggle to set up the Law Faculty; Prof. Baruch Bracha, Dean of the Faculty, who described its growth, especially in teaching staff, during his tenure and its innovative development of a law education program for the high schools; and Judge Amnon Carmi, a member of the Faculty who acted as moderator of the ceremonies.