Israel is home to many different people and communities. Restorative dialogue among these individuals and groups and between them could make life much more relaxed and happy.
Israeli society was introduced to Restorative Justice and its concepts in the late 90’s. In November 2011 the Knesset (the Israeli Legislature) incorporated restorative justice in its legal system with the 16th amendment of the 1971 Youth Judgment, Punishment and Methods of Treatment Law, making restorative justice practices a formal criminal justice diversion in juvenile cases. Recently, the Israeli Ministry of Justice also initiated a pilot restorative justice program designed for adult offenders.
Following these developments, 15 professionals from the disciplines of education, social services, justice and academics from across Israel, including attorney and IIRP trustee Zvi Gabay, joined minds, expertise and points of view to formulate a Declaration of Restorative Principles, inviting as wide an audience as possible to adopt the restorative principles in daily life and apply them in the arena of criminal justice as well as elsewhere.
To disseminate the restorative concepts and encourage inter-group restorative discourse, a Restorative Dialogue Week (May 13-17, 2012) was initiated in Israel. The goal of this week is to raise awareness of the potential restorative justice and restorative practices carry for making a grand social change in Israel, to awaken thinking and ignite initiatives of restorative applications in all aspects of life.
Prof. Uri Yanay, from the School of Social Work and Welfare at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and Dalia Tauber, director of The Israeli Center for Restorative Practices, have initiated this week. It will be officially launched at a ceremony at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The Israeli Minister of Justice, Prof. Yaakov Neeman, and Supreme Court Justice Elyakim Rubenstein will address the meeting.
Following this ceremony, five seminars will take place at five different universities in Israel. Participants in these seminars are representatives from justice, police, probation and youth probation services, the prisoners' rehabilitation authority, children and family services, welfare agencies and education.
The universities taking part are The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the University of Haifa; Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, in Beer-Sheva; Bar Ilan University, in Ramat Gan; and Beit Berl academic College, in Kfar Saba.
Dalia Tauber will address the gatherings and present the Declaration of Restorative Principles: Promoting a Fair and Safe Society in Israel.
Some highlights of the week include sessions on:
- Restorative justice in service of the education system in Beer-Sheva
- Restorative dialogue between Jews and Arabs in the Negev
- Restorative justice in the biblical stories of Joseph
- Family Group Conferencing (FGC), restoration and responsiveness to needs of the Bedouin population
- Restorative justice with sexual offenses
- Restorative justice in law enforcement and correction institutes
Download a copy of the Declaration of Restorative Principles here.