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Aharon Barak

(1936 - )

Aharon Barak is an Israeli lawyer, professor and former justice of the Israeli Supreme Court. He presided over the court from 1995 to 2006.

Barak (born September 16, 1936) was born in Lithuania and spent three years in the Kovno Ghetto following the Nazi occupation of his country. At the end of the war, his family wandered through Hungary, Austria and Italy before finally settling in Rome for two years. In 1947, they received travel papers and immigrated to pre-State Israel and moved to Jerusalem.

He studied law, international relations and economics at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and obtained his Bachelor of Laws in 1958. Between 1958 and 1960, having been drafted into the Israeli Defense Forces, he served in the office of the Financial Advisor to the Chief of Staff. Upon discharging his service he returned to the Hebrew University, where he completed his doctoral dissertation with distinction in 1963.

Barak studied law, economics and international relations at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, graduating with an M.A. in 1958. Between 1958 and 1960, Barak served in the office of the Financial Advisor to the Chief of Staff for his obligatory service in the Israel Defense Forces. Upon discharge, he returned to the Hebrew University where he completed his doctoral dissertation with distinction in 1963.

In 1968, Barak was appointed Associate Professor of Law at Hebrew University and by 1974 he had become the Dean of the Faculty of Law at the school. The prior year he was awarded the Kaplan Prize for excellence in science and research and in 1975 he was awarded the Israel Prize for his contributions to Israeli society in the legal sciences.

From 1975 to 1978, Barak served as Attorney General of Israel and in 1978 he was appointed to sit as a justice on the Israeli Supreme Court. In 1993, Barak was appointed Deputy President of the Supreme Court and he assumed the Presidency in 1995, a position he held until 2006 when he retired due to age constraints.

After his retirement from the Supreme Court, Barak joined the staff of the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya. He also lectures at the Yale Law School and the University of Alabama.

In 2005, Barak was voted the 39th-greatest Israeli of all time in an online poll conducted by the Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronoth.

Sources: Israeli Foreign Ministry; Wikipedia