At the end of May, the participants in the Mandel Program for Local Leadership in Baqa al-Gharbiyye visited Jerusalem, as part of the study unit “The Worthy Person and the Just Society.” The group met with Supreme Justice Anat Baron, who spoke to them about the relationship between justice, law, and the courts. In her lecture, Baron explored the difference between factual truth and legal truth, and between contextual truth and absolute truth. She discussed the uniqueness of the Basic Law “Human Dignity and Freedom” in the absence of a constitution in Israel, as well as the role of the Supreme Court as an independent authority, providing an essential balance in democratic regimes in general, and in Israel in particular. Justice Baron also reviewed several cases that received widespread media coverage.
During the second part of the meeting, the participants asked questions about the Supreme Court, such as the method for selecting justices and the need for it to represent all social strata, particularly given the relative nature of justice.
Afterwards the group took part in two guided tours examining the political and social situation in east Jerusalem. The first was a tour organized by the Ir Amim nonprofit, looking at the division of the city, the separation fence and the situation of the city’s Palestinian residents. The second was a tour of the Old City guided by Yassir Kos, who spoke about the complexities of life for the city’s Palestinians, the challenges of unemployment and poverty, and the effects of the Residency Law. He also shared his personal and professional experiences of living in the Old City.