Skip to main content

Professors from Israel visit UNC

Two professors from Israel came to Chapel Hill Sept. 19 to speak on social work, policy and social justice.

Dr. John Gal, social work professor and dean at Hebrew University, visited UNC to discuss collaboration between his university and UNC, and delivered two lectures on Sept. 19. He was accompanied by his wife Dr. Idit Weiss-Gal, an associate professor at the Bob Shapell School of Social Work at Tel Aviv University in Israel, who also spoke at one of the lectures.

UNC students, faculty and the public were invited to attend both lectures.

Their visit was sponsored by UNC School of Social Work, UNC’s Global Education Center, the Jewish Studies Department, and the Asset Building Group at the School of Social Work. Associate Professor Michal Grinstein-Weiss was instrumental in planning this visit.

The purpose was to:

  • Strengthen the long productive history with faculty of Hebrew University;
  • Learn more about their research studies and interests;
  • Explore possible research and collaboration work;
  • Discuss development of a potential student and faculty exchange program;
  • Further discuss collaborative work with Assets Building Group of School of Social Work; and
  • For students, faculty and the community to have an opportunity to learn more about Israeli social welfare and policies, relevant to current and recent events.

Dr. Gal delivered two lectures: one, at the School of Social Work with Weiss-Gal; and another, by himself, at the Global Education Center.

At the School of Social Work, Drs. Gal and Weiss-Gal spoke on “Social Workers Affecting Social Policy: An Israeli Perspective.” They discussed the involvement of social workers in different countries in policy practice and, in particular, offered empirical data on the engagement of social workers in the policy process in Israel.  The analysis focuses on the role of social workers in the deliberations of the Knesset, the Israeli parliament.

Later that day at UNC’s FedEx Global Education Center, Dr. Gal delivered the lecture, “Why Did 300,000 Israelis Demand Social Justice this Summer?” He spoke on the welfare state of Israel in light of the recent mass protests in support of social justice and the welfare state that took place throughout Israel during the summer, and he explored the reasons why so many young middle class Israelis feel that existing social welfare systems in Israel are insufficient and require change.

About John Gal

John Gal, Ph.D. is a full professor and dean at the Paul Baerwald School of Social Work and Social Welfare at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His fields of interest include social policy in Israel and in a comparative perspective, and policy-practice in social work. Dr. Gal has published extensively in academic journals and has been very involved in social policy formulation in Israel. Recent books include a study on income maintenance in Israel, a study of the history of unemployment policy in Israel, an edited volume on access to social justice (with Mimi Ajzenstadt) and “Professional Ideologies and Preferences in Social Work: A Global Study” with Idit-Weiss and John Dixon. A book on policy practice in Israel, written jointly with Idit Weiss-Gal, was recently published.

About Idit Weiss-Gal

Idit Weiss-Gal, Ph.D. is an associate professor at the Bob Shapell School of Social Work at Tel Aviv University in Israel.  Her fields of research and teaching include policy practice, critical perspectives in social work, and social work as a profession.  She has published numerous articles in social work academic publications.  She has edited two cross-national comparative studies:  “Social Work as a Profession: A Cross-National Perspective” (with Penelope Wellbourne, 2007); and “Professional Ideologies and Preferences in Social Work: A Global Study” (with John Gal and John Dixon, 2003). Her Hebrew-language book, “Policy Practice in Social Work,” written with John Gal, was recently published.