Stanley Fisher formerly served as Chairman of the World Bank – and while he has just announced his resignation he has made a tremendously positive impact on Israel’s economy as Governor of Israel’s Central Bank. As one of the world’s leading Jewish economists, undoubtedly Fisher has been instrumental in the boom to the Israeli economy.
One wonders what field will next see leading professionals working to assist the State of Israel in business-related challenges. After spending a day this week with Nitsana Darshan Leitner of the Israel Law Center in Tel Aviv it is quite clear that it could indeed by the legal field as many are increasingly using legal systems in issues that face Israel. It is quite clear that International laws will face an increased role of importance on the Israeli battlefield – both when it comes to protecting Israel and opposing worldwide terrorism.
Quasi-political battles in the courts have been defined as “lawfare”. A form of asymmetric warfare, some have defined the legal battles as “the illegitimate use of domestic or international law with the intention of damaging an opponent, winning a public relations victory, financially crippling an opponent, or tying up the opponent’s time so that they cannot pursue other ventures…”
Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law & Justice (ACLJ) has worked previously in presenting arguments in defense of Israel before the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) office of the Prosecutor in the Hague. Undoubtedly, the next major legal challenge could be confronting the issue of Palestinian threats to take Israel to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague. The Palestinians have suggested they would go to the court, which they became eligible to join after the United Nations General Assembly upgraded the Palestinians’ status at the world body in November last year from “observer entity” to “non-member state.”
Clearly this could be a disaster – whether on issues like how “The United Nations deems all Israelisettlements in the West Bank to be illegal” or prosecuting Israeli soldiers for purported war crimes. Could one imagine if Israelis cannot travel freely (as nearly all serve in the army) for fear of being arrested?
Meanwhile, supporters of Israel have also utilized “lawfare” – just yesterday, an American federal judge awarded more than $1 billion each to 26 victims of the deadly 1985 terrorist attacks on the Rome and Vienna airports against Syria. U.S. Magistrate Judge John M. Facciola said the attacks by the Abu Nidal Organization could not have taken place “without Syria’s direct support.”
If it’s a legal battle Israel is well equipped – Israel has one of the highest per-capita ratios with one lawyer for every 170 people in Israel in 2010.