Officials at Israel's Ministry of Justice have issued a statement saying that only one of the new tertiary colleges will be granted approval to run courses in law. The ministry added a warning to the statement pointing out that it is illegal for educational institutes to enrol students on a non-approved course of law studies.
The ministry's official line is that inspection of the various proposals put forward by the colleges is a time-consuming process to ensure both academic and professional quality. However, the move comes in the wake of a lively public debate about the size and role of the legal profession in Israel. There are currently about 14,000 lawyers in Israel and with 0 lawyers per 100,000 head of the population,Israel now ranks third in the world legal eagle table behind Singapore with 390 and the United States with 312. Europeans have fewer - the Germans making do with 190 lawyers per 100,000 head of the population, Britain with 130, and France and Switzerland with 50. The head of the Knesset's constitution and legal committee, David Tzuker, said: "It is clear that not all those with a legal training will be able to work in their chosen profession. But this need not be a harmful trend. Their education will bring both personal and social benefits in other fields."