David Libai

David Libai
David Libai
Date of birth October 22, 1934(1934-10-22)
Place of birth Tel Aviv, Mandate Palestine
Knessets 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th
Party Labour Party
Former parties Alignment
Ministerial posts
(current in bold)
Minister of Justice
Minister of Interior

David Libai (Hebrew: דוד ליבאי‎, born 22 October 1934) is an Israeli jurist and former politician.



Libai was born in Tel Aviv in 1934, where he attended Ironi Alef high school. He studied law at the Hebrew University within the academic reserve program of the IDF. He received his MA from the Institute of Criminology and Criminal Law in Tel Aviv University (where he served as Dean of Students) and his PhD from University of Chicago school of law. He served as deputy chief military prosecutor and was discharged as a major.[1][2]

He began his professional career in the office of Minister of Justice Pinchas Rosen, in charge of the amnesty department and as spokesman for the Ministry. In 1960 he was certified as a lawyer. He was appointed chief assistant to attorney-general Colin Gillon and chief prosecutor of the state workers' disciplinary court.[2]

In 1964 he opened a private law office. In 1977 he became chairman of the Labour Party's constitution committee.[2] From 1983 to 1985 he was head of the Israeli Bar. He has also been a member of the National inquiry commission on prison conditions, member of the Press Council, and chairman of the Israel-Britain Parliamentary Friendship Association. He is an associate professor at Tel Aviv University and the Herzliya Interdisciplinary Center.[1]

In 1984 he was elected to the eleventh Knesset for the Alignment. In the eleventh and twelfth he was chairman of the State Control Committee and a member of the House, Constitution and Law and Justice Committee (of which he was also a member in the fourteenth Knesset). During his tenure the State Control Committee appointed the Beisky commission to investigate the bank stock crisis of 1983.[2]

After he was elected to the thirteenth Knesset for the Labour Party, he was appointed Minister of Justice by Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. He also held this position under Shimon Peres, following Rabin's assassination. For a brief period in 1995 he was also Interior Minister. As Minister of Justice, he initiated three national inquiry commissions: concerning the Cave of the Patriarchs massacre, the Yemenite children affair, and the assassination of Rabin. He resigned from the Knesset in 1996.[2]

In 2006 he represented former Comverse Technology CEO Kobi Alexander.[3] He also represented former Israeli President Moshe Katsav against rape charges, but later resigned as Katsav's attorney, claiming he had taken the case only when he believed it was a blackmail attempt.[4][5]

He is the recipient of the Pinchas Rosen Award for his legal studies. In 2005 he also received an ethics awards from Minister of Justice Tzipi Livni.[6]

Libai is married and is the father of Daniel and Daphne.[2]


  • Libai, David (1978). Imprisonment law. Jerusalem: Shocken.  (Hebrew)


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