Nili Arad to be appointed National Labor Court president

She succeeds Judge Steve Adler, who is retiring after a 35-year career in the Israeli justice system.

November 15, 2010 03:15
2 minute read.

Judge Nili Arad, vice president of the National Labor Court, will assume the presidency of the court at a ceremony on Monday at Beit Hanassi.

She succeeds Judge Steve Adler, who is retiring after a 35-year career in the Israeli justice system.

Born in Brooklyn, New York, Adler earned his law degree at Columbia University after having previously studied industrial labor relations at Cornell.

After working from 1965-68 in the field of labor relations in the US Federal justice system, he came on aliya, and initially worked in the State Comptroller’s Office. He then found himself working simultaneously in the Labor Ministry, in the research and development division of the Labor Court and as an assistant lecturer at Tel Aviv University.

Despite his legal experience and his American degree, he still had to prove himself to be admitted to the Israeli Bar, after which he worked as a private attorney, before his appointment in December 1975 as a judge in the Jerusalem Labor Court.

He rose through the ranks and in 1997 was appointed president of the National Labor Court, succeeding Menachem Goldberg, who had reached retirement age.

Born in 1941, Adler has not quite reached retirement age himself, but is stepping down early so that Arad, who will celebrate her 67th birthday in December, will be able to succeed him. She has been deputy president for 15 months.

According to the rules, a deputy president of the court can only become president if he or she still has three full years in which to serve. Thus, if Adler had served his full term, Arad would have been ineligible to succeed him.

Adler achieved an enviable reputation for fairness. Among his rulings is one that has enabled untold numbers of people to advance in their careers: Adler limited the cooling-off periods that people leaving one place of employment must take before seeking employment at a rival company, where the knowledge and skills they acquired in their previous place of employment could be utilized. This was particularly important to workers in the hi-tech field.

A few years back he averted a national strike by acknowledging the Histadrut labor federation’s right to strike, while at the same time detailing the multi-faceted damage that such a strike would cause.

One of the secrets of his success was in respecting both sides in the dispute. When each knows that the judge is more than willing to listen to their respective arguments, they are more inclined to accept the ruling of the judge, even when it goes against them.

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