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General Biography

Shimon Shetreet, LLB, LLM, Hebrew University, MCL, DCL holds the Greenblatt Chair of Public and International Law at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel, and is past chairman of the Sacher Institute of Legislative Research and Comparative Law. He was a member of the Chief Justice Landau Commission on the Israeli Court System, 1980, and a Judge on the Standard Contract Court (1981-1988).


Academic roles:

Professor Shimon Shetreet has in recent years held many visiting positions, including, in recent years: Herbert Smith Visiting Professor at the University of Cambridge (2008, 2010), Senior Academic Visitor at Clare College at the University of Cambridge (2010), Visting Professor of Law at City University of Hong Kong (February 2013) Visiting Professor at the Center of Jewish Studies University of Potsdam and Abraham Geiger Kolleg, Berlin (spring 2013), Visiting Professor of Law at University of San Diego (fall 2008, 2011), Visiting Distinguished Scholar of Comparative Law at the University of San Diego (fall 2013), Visiting Professor at the Old dominion University (fall 2009, fall 2010), and Visiting Professor and Owens Chair of Middle East Studies at University of Utah (spring 2014).


Professor Shetreet is also Member of the Interntional Adviosry board for the Journal of International and Comparative Law (2013 – henceforth).


Also, Professor Shetreet delivered many keynote lectures, such as, in recent years: KK Nambyar Lecture 2009 New Delhi and Chenai ,India, the Human Rights Day Keynote Speaker for the Indian Human Rights Association in New Delhi, December 2010, the 10th Fiat Justizia Lecture, February 2013, at the Monash University Faculty of law, Melbourne, Australia, the Kanter Lecture of Interfaith, Old Dominion University, October 2008.


Public offices:

Professor Shetreet held high public offices. Between 1988 and 1996 he served as Member of the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament. He was a cabinet minister in the Rabin Government and in Peres Cabinet (1992-1996). He served as senior deputy Mayor of Jerusalem (1999-2003). He is the President of the International Association of Judicial Independence and World Peace (, and President of the International Culture of Peace Project.


Other offices:

In addition to his distinguished academic career and his public offices, professor Shetreet also held high business positions, including member of the board of Bank Leumi and Chairman of the Board of Mishaan  He is the chairman of the Israel Internal Auditors Council for Legislation and Certification.


Also, Professor Shetreet is the Chairman of the national Council of Social Development, member of the Board Overseers at Hebrew Union College  in Jerusalem and The Abraham Geiger Rabbinical College in Potsdam, member and founder of Computer for Every Child Project, and Member of the Board of Governors at Holon Technological institute and Jerusalem Engineering College.


Legal Career and Education

Born in 1946 in Morocco, Shetreet came to Israel in 1949. He completed his education in Israel and in the US, earning an LL.B., 1968, and an LL.M., 1970, from the Hebrew University and a Masters' (1971) and a Doctor’s degree (1973) from the University of Chicago School of Law.


Prof. Shimon Shetreet began his legal career as Clerk to Mr. Justice Witkon of the Supreme Court of Israel, 1967. He was admitted to the Israeli Bar Association, 1969. He has appeared before the Supreme Court of Israel in a number of landmark cases; was Member of the Chief Justice Landau Commission on the Israeli Court System, 1980; was a Founder Secretary General of the Public Law Association (1987 - 1992); and a Judge on the Standard Contract Court (1981-88). He is past President of the Israeli Chapter of the International Association of Constitutional Law.



Professor Shetreet published extensively all the years including when he was serving in high public offices. He is author and editor of a number of books, including: Judges on Trial (1976), Judicial Independence: The Contemporary Debate with Chief Justice Jules Deschenes (1985), The Role of Courts in Society (1988), National Security and Free Speech (1991), Pioneers in Tears: Anthology on North African Jewry (1991), Justice in Israel (1994), Women in Law (1998), The Good Land between Power and Religion (1998), Law and Social Pluralism (2002), On Adjudication (2004), Culture of Judicial Independence: Conceptual Foundations and Practical Challenges, with Christopher Forsyth (Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 2012), Uniform Civil Code: The Challenge of Implementing Uniform Civil Code for India ,with Hiram Chodosh (2013), and Judges on Trial :Independence and Accountability of the English Judiciary,2nd ed. with Sophie Turenne (2013).


He is also the author of numerous publications in legal journals in Israeli and overseas law reviews.


Prof. Shetreet’s book "Judges on Trial: A Study of the Appointment and the Accountability of the English Judiciary" (1976) was relied upon by the House of Lords in the Pinochet Case in January 1999. The same book, and other of Professor Shetreet works as well, have also been relied upon in numerous Highest court cases in other countries, such as Canada, Australia, New Zealand and India.


For a full publication list, please see here.


International activity

Professor Shetreet is very active on the international level. He served as General Coordinator for the International Bar Association project for the New Delhi Code of Minimum Standards of Judicial Independence during 1980-1982. He also acted as Speaker, General Rapporteur and Chairman in numerous legal international conferences of leading academic and professional organizations, including, International Bar Association First World Conference on the Independence of Justice and the Congress of Comparative Law and International Association on Procedural Law. 

In the years 2007-2011 he has chaired a major international project of judicial independence.


Prof. Shetreet is the head of the International Association of Judicial Independence and World Peace, which held ten international conferences. Professor Shetreet also serves as the President of RPO - Religion for Peace Organization.

Indeed, for almost four decades Shetreet has been the leader of the study of the Independence of the Judiciary around the globe and has been in the forefront of the theoretical innovation on the fundamental concepts underlying the core value of the independence and accountability of the judiciary and other values of the justice system. In addition to his extensive  scholarly writings which influenced the academic discourse and  judicial decisions he also played a leading role in drafting international standards of judicial independence including the New Delhi Code of Minimum Standards of Judicial Independence (1982), the Montreal Universal Declaration of the Independence of Justice (1983) and the Mt. Scopus International Standards of Judicial Independence (2008). 


International Jurists Award 2010

Professor Shimon Shetreet was awarded the 2010 International Jurists Award for maintaining the highest standards of legal education. The award ceremony took place on December, 2010 at the International Conference of Jurists in New Delhi, India held at Vijian Bahvan Congress Cemtre, under the distinguished patronage of Indian Vice-President M. Hamid Ansari. Other recipients of the 2010 award included the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, Lord Judge, the former President of Seychelles, and the President of the Malaysian Bar Council.



Personal Life

Prof. Shetreet comes from a religious family. He had his elementary studies in Jewish religious school and he also attended a Yeshiva in his youth years. When he was 13 he won the first Bible youth Contest in Israel. He pursued his scholarly interest in Bible studies. He was a permanent member of the Bible Study Group of scholars that was hosted by Prime Minister Menachem Begin for about three years. He delivered papers in this group on Ethics in Government in Biblical and Jewish Law, The Powers of the King to Confiscate Property in Biblical and Jewish Law and Freedom of Conscience in the Bible.



Bible Competitions and Jewish culture in Israel

By Professor Shimon Shetreet

Greenblatt Professor of Public and International Law

First Youth Bible competition winner 1959


The first Bible competition was conducted in 1958 in the framework of the first decade celebrations of the state of Israel. The decade celebration committee decided to conduct a worldwide Bible competition. The success was beyond any expectation. The whole country was glued to the radios (before the age of television and cables). The streets of the cities were empty, and all were gathered in their homes, to listen to the questions, the answers, and the points that each participant received for his answers. A few weeks later, the world Bible competition was held in Israel, in which 14 countries participated.


The world Bible competition for adults was held three times and then discontinued. On the other hand, the youth Bible competitions continue to be conducted every year, and the final competition is held every year on the Israeli Independence Day, and it is broadcast live on Israel's public national television.


The culture of studying Bible is not limited to Bible competitions, but also is illustrated by the practice of studying the chapter of the week (the chapter of the Torah which is read from the scrolls every Saturday in the synagogue), that is also very widespread. Also, there is a practice of leaders and official institutions that hold Bible study groups. Such group was conducted by David Ben Gurion, Israel's first Prime Minister, later also by Prime Minister Menachem Begin, as well as the Bible study group in the Israeli parliament which is conducted to this day.


Through the Bible competition, the Bible study and learning has become the collective experience of the whole country, and not only an individual experience. The Bible connected the Israelis to their land, to their past, and to their ancient history and culture in a very unique way. Upon their return to their ancient homeland, when the state of Israel was established, the Israelis returned also to the provinces of the land of the Bible, and returned to the fields and areas where historical figures from the Bible recorded the history, including David and Joshua, Solomon and Jeremiah, Saul and Samuel.


The conduct of Bible competitions in Israel was a demonstration that the Jewish Israeli culture, which has been renewed in Israel, cannot be divorced from its Jewish roots and Biblical heritage. The Bible was perceived, in fact, as a bridge of life, between the rich cultural past of the Biblical ancient Jewish people in the land of the Bible, and their modern successors who wish to continue their heritage in an independent Jewish and democratic country. The competition was an important foundation in the creation of the new Israeli culture and an expression of the process of strengthening the roots of the Israeli people in the land.


This competition helped the newcomers from many nations to become part of the Israeli cultural scene. In the days when the Bible competition was introduces, many years before the introduction of television or cables, the competition was received with much enthusiasm, both by adults and youth. The winners in the competition were exposed to wide publicity and prestigious recognition. The first winner of the Bible competition, which took place in 1958, was Mr. Amos Hacham, and he, overnight, became a celebrity. They were pronounced as winners in the presence of the leaders of the nation, including the Prime Minister David Ben Gurion , Ministers of the Cabinet, leaders of the Jewish Agencies, commanders of the IDF, and other dignitaries. The Bible competition winners were admired and enjoyed high prestige. Even one of the most popular skits of the time was a satire on the Bible competition, which is still broadcast from time to time in Israeli radio programs, as a reminder that the Bible competition was part of the Israeli collective memory. Immediately after the first adults' competition, where Amos Hacham was pronounced as winner, a Bible competition for youth was conducted, and the winner was Shimon Shetreet (the undersigned).


The Bible competition of 1959 and the subsequent competitions for adults and youth became landmarks in the formulation of the Israeli culture that is based on the combination of tradition and modernity; of the biblical heritage, and the concept of the modern human rights culture, that is at the same time respectful of Israel heritage.





Encyclopedia of the Bible and Its Reception. (2010). Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter. Retrieved 24 Apr. 2014, from


All rights reserved to De Gruyter


Prof. Shetreet is married to Miri, a social worker, and they have four children.

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