2016 Laureates of Emet Prize
In Category: Social Sciences
In Field: Social Work
Prof. Rami Benbenishty was born in Jaffa in 1951. As a youth, he joined the Noar L’noar (Youth to Youth) Youth Movement and was a member of its national leadership. He became an IDF officer in the Artillery Division and fought in the War of Attrition, as well as in the Yom Kippur War as a reservist. In 1972, he began his studies in the School of Social Work at the Hebrew University. After graduating the M.S.W. degree program summa cum laude, he received a post-doctoral fellowship for studies in Social Work and Psychology at the University of Michigan. In 1982, after completing his doctorate, he returned to the Hebrew University where he taught and conducted research until 2007. During this period he served in various positions and established a research group for study of children and youth, while simultaneously serving as a mental health officer in the army reserves. As a civilian, he worked for the IDF in the Department of Mental Health Research, and later became the Head of Research and Evaluation at the Haruv Institute, which promotes reduction of child abuse and neglect. In 2008, he moved to Bar Ilan University.
Most of his academic research focuses on disadvantaged children and youth at risk, and on methods for promoting their welfare and safety in the community, in school, and in foster care and boarding school frameworks. His research also deals with improving decision making methods used by professionals and policy makers in matters concerning children who are victims of abuse in the family or community. Over the years he has published over 200 articles, chapters and complete books, as well as in-depth and comprehensive research reports.
He is also active in academic and social undertakings dedicated to children in Israel and worldwide. He has served as a member of several committees that have formulated legislation and operational methods of welfare and educational services, including the assessment of school efficiency and monitoring of violence. The U.S. Department of Defense awarded him unusually significant research grants for the purpose of implementing in the San Diego area a theoretical and methodological model, which he developed in Israel, aimed at improving the social environment in schools by means of multi-level monitoring. He also took part in drafting the Law of Foster Care.
His work has earned him prizes such as the Landau Prize for the Sciences, the Hebrew University Rector Prize, the “Distinguished Career Award” from our most prestigious (research) professional society – Society for Social Work Research and several international prizes, including the French Order of the Legion of Honor.