Israel’s top law firms seek legal help over war from international lawyers

Digital platform launched to collect details of individuals and firms willing to assist
The flag of Israel and EU hang in front of the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium on October 9

The flag of Israel and EU hang in front of the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium on October 9 Achim Wagner; Shutterstock

Twenty of Israel’s top law firms have teamed up with the Israel Bar Association to ask international law firms and lawyers to register their support and provide legal help in the wake of the unprecedented attack by Hamas on Israel on 7 October. 

The Stand With Humanity Israel Big Law Firms Support Platform was launched on Wednesday and invites “friends and colleagues outside Israel who may be in a position to assist in the international arena” to submit their contact details.

By Friday morning, the register listed nearly 400 names from a wide array of jurisdictions and leading law firms.

Firms behind the initiative include Arnon Tadmor-Levy, Herzog Fox & Neeman, Meitar Law Offices, S. Horowitz & Co and Shibolet & Co along with 15 other practices of a similar size and status.  

Condemning the “unimaginable, vicious, barbarous attacks on our people and our country” the firms say the purpose of the initiative is to “put together a group of representatives of major law firms and leading lawyers throughout the world” who are “willing to be called on when needed for assistance with matters in their expertise or jurisdiction”. 

“As the situation here develops, we will reach out to you with specific requests for help that we have identified as being needed to assist the victims and hostages,” they added. 

Shibolet managing partner Lior Aviram said he had received an “overwhelming” number of messages of support from people across the world and that one way firms and individuals could help was by posting legal analyses of the crimes committed against his country by Hamas on 7 October. 

He added that Israel was committed to adhering to international law in its response to the attacks. 

Among those supporting the initiative are a number of the 400 top business lawyers who last week publicly condemned the attacks as signatories to a statement affirming Israel’s “obligation to pursue justice against those who harm it and murder its citizens”. 

The ongoing collaboration between the Israeli law firms began around nine months ago, when they issued a series of statements opposing prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s administration’s controversial package of constitutional reforms, which sparked civil unrest. 

Aviram said the group believed the proposed judicial reforms “were against the principles of a democratic state” and had also provided advice on “issues concerning freedom of speech and the right to protest”.  

However, he added: “With the beginning of this war – the focus has turned to using the firms’ resources to support the country’s fight for its life.”  

Last week, the International Bar Association issued a statement strongly condemning the Hamas attack and asserting Israel’s “inherent right to self-defence”. It added that Israel “too, must ensure that civilian populations are shielded from harm and that military actions are conducted with a clear commitment to the international legal principles of distinction and proportionality”.

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