With Justice For All: The Bar-Ilan University Legal Aid Program
Dr. Aharon Namdar
Israel Society for Legal Aid
Ramat Gan 52900, Israel
The worker dismissed without cause, the abandoned wife forced to assume her husband's debts, the consumer who buys a defective product -- problems like these can be devastating for people with limited resources and no idea of where to turn. Over the past decade, thousands of such cases have been successfully resolved through Bar-Ilan's unique Israel Society for Legal Aid (ISLA), founded by Dr. Aharon Namdar. "People simply are unaware of their rights and the protection afforded them by law," Namdar says, noting that he became aware of the scope of the problem while working as a legal adviser to Israeli trade confederations. "I realized then that we ought to be going out into the neighborhoods to reach people there."
Equality before the law and respect for individual rights have been central to Jewish thinking since Biblical times -- and the studies in Bar-Ilan's University's Faculty of Law reflect this emphasis. Dr. Namdar initiated ISLA with scholarship students doing community service in exchange for their stipends. ISLA operates 55 consulting centers in 27 towns and cities around the country, from Kiryat Shemona to Ashkelon.
The program is part of the law school's curriculum, preparing the student-consultant to assist in such areas as labor law, consumer protection, national insurance claims, and relations with municipal authorities. Over the past two years, ISLA has provided legal assistance to more than 4,050 citizens. Since 1990, the program has dealt with close to 10,000 people.
"We take the students into the field; they obtain practical experience, and more importantly, acquire a sensitivity to social problems," says Dr. Namdar. "Since there are positive results in 50 percent of the cases, the student learns that he or she can make a difference in society."
For more information about ISLA, please contact Dr. Namdar at
the above address, telephone number or fax.