Our firm was established in 1980 by Advocate Jacob (Kobi) Harkavy, a graduate of the University of Tel-Aviv. In 1982 Adv Harkavy teamed up with Advocate Avner Yemini, a graduate of the London School of Economics, who had started practicing in Israel in 1975, specializing in family law.
Our offices are located at Be’it Amot Mishpat, on 8 Sha’ul Hamelech St in Tel-Aviv.
The bulk of our clients were initially farmers – from Israel’s Jordan Valley as well as from elsewhere – whom we represented in civil cases in court, in arbitration, before public bodies etc.
With nearly three decades of experience behind us, we continue to do so today, and with great success.
Following Israel's agricultural crisis in 1986 our firm represented hundreds of members ofmoshavim (small farmer townships, often formed as a cooperative) in various proceedings. We can proudly say that we were responsible for many landmark decisions in this area, which have since been adopted and applied by the courts.
But even before then, as early as in 1983, our firm was the first to raise arguments over the illegality of certain of the charges imposed on members of the moshavim – in a dispute between the Yogev cooperative and one of its members.
We have since handled many similar cases, and still handle a few today.
We have likewise become well-known for our work in the field of administrative law. We have challenged several of the decisions of the Registrar of Cooperatives in the Supreme Court in Jerusalem; as well as won a case for dairy producers from the moshav of Be’er Tuvya who, fighting for their lawful rights, insisted on having personal milk quotas. We subsequently also defeated a petition before the Supreme Court on this matter.
Our firm later defended both coop members, as well as coops themselves, in claims brought by banks. Amongst the cases we have won was one where the Ein Chai bank (known today as Bank Hapo’alim) sought to enforce certain guarantees it was allegedly given by some of the members of the Sdeh Moshe coop. The claim was dismissed by the Be’er Sheva County Court (the Honourable Mr Justice Banai); no attempt was made to appeal the Court’s decision.
It was following this series of professional achievements that we were asked to represent Bank Hamizrahi Hame’ucahd Ltd in various claims involving the bank’s farmer clients, mainly big claims surrounding the activities of the buyer organisations. We did so until the Law [providing for / concerning] settlements in the family farmer sector (the so-called ‘Gal Law’) came into force, and jurisdiction over such disputes was taken away from the courts, and given to specially appointed adjudicators (meshakmim).
Our firm was also later hired by several leading companies, some of which were in charge of performing certain quasi-public functions.
One of our firm’s professional highlights was filing a petition before the Supreme Court to strike down an executive decision to close one of Jerusalem’s main roads, Bar-Ilan Road, on Saturdays and Jewish holidays. Whilst this petition was rejected by a slim majority of only four to three Justices, the judgment in that case is one of only a dozen to be on display at the Supreme Court Museum in Jerusalem.
We should note that, whilst in that case our firm was indeed acting for the petitioners challenging the validity of the executive decision in question, we do feel a strong commitment to Jewish morals and values, such as the importance of helping others, giving to those less fortunate, and so on.
In 1997 Adv Harkavy was court-appointed, along with Eng Yitzhak Gadish, to run the Israeli Association of Engineers and Architects, due to serious disputes within the Association which had left it in a state of gridlock.
After no longer than nine months, and at relatively low costs, the two court-appointed professionals had the Association up and running again – allowing it to hold a democratic general election.
Another area in which we have known a great deal of success over the past few years is trademark law. In the course of representing one of our clients in other matters, our client was sued for importing competing goods into the country. We defeated this claim – and subsequently also won a landmark case in the Supreme Court for the same client, a case which goes to the very essence of trademarks.
The Israeli Attorney General has since taken up this case for what is known in Israeli law as a ‘further hearing’. This is a special – in practice, seldom used – type of hearing, whereby, after the Supreme Court, sitting as a three judge court, has rendered its decision, the Court reconvenes as a five judge court, in order to debate certain relevant issues. Generally speaking, it is due to the importance, novelty or difficulty of the legal issues in question that they may merit a further hearing.
At any rate, both these trademark decisions promise to have a major impact on the way similar cases are decided for years to come.
Another important case we have recently won is one in which we challenged the results of the Israeli National Lottery's public tender for local licences. Setting aside the results of the tender, the Honourable Court held that the winners chosen by the National Lottery did not in fact meet the prerequisite requirements for bidding in the tender -- set by the National Lottery itself.
In another case, Adv Harkavy has been appointed liquidator of Yachini Dairy Producers Ltd, the circumstances of whose becoming insolvent raise some rather difficult questions.
But our main practice areas today are real proeprty and land taxation; we specialise in handling large-scale real property transactions.
In 1992 we filed for our landowner clients proposal plans for rezoning Kfar Yona, and later dealt with some of the related transactions (sale of land, transactions known in Israel as 'combined transactions' (whereby a developer, in return for getting a certain part of land, does construction work on another part of the land in question), etc). Shortly thereafter our firm took part in carrying out the Ra’anana 2005 plan, representing some of those who own lands in the area in question.
Similarly, these days we are involved in preparing the Ramat HaSharon 816 plan for rezoning agricultural lands for development.
We have since handled several other such 'combined transactions'.
In addition, for two years now we have been handling a government reconstruction project in Jerusalem (involving the temporary relocation of the tenants for the period of reconstruction, provided that they all give their consent) for our developer clients. As one may expect, a project of this type gives rise to wide variety indeed of different legal matters – such as planning laws, licensing, contracts, taxation and so on.
Over the past year our firm has joined forces on a number of cases with the Jerusalem law firm of Adv Jacob J Marx's (also qualified to practice law in the State of New York), whose main practice areas are likewise real property and land taxation. Our collaboration with this firm has been very fertile indeed, and we certainly hope to see it spread out to other professional areas as well.
Our firm also carries on certain activities overseas, where we use the services of leading local counsel.
Adv Harkavy's activities in the public sphere have included serving two terms on the Israeli Bar Association's County Disciplinary Tribunal in Tel-Aviv; serving on the Bar Association's local Culture and Sports Committee; and serving as Chairman of the City of Tel-Aviv's Appellate Committee for Municipal Tax Cases.
Adv Harkavy was born in 1954, in Kiryat Ha'im, neighbouring the City of Haifa. Having served in Military Intelligence in the Israeli Defence Forces, Adv Harkavy was subsequently transferred to the Military Prosecution Service for active reserve duty, where he served, in the Gaza Strip, until he was finally discharged a few years ago.
If your business activity is in any of the above areas, if you do not wish to feel lost at one of the big firms, and rather prefer an unstuffy law firm, we would gladly take your case, and represent you with great commitment and dedication.
Jacob Harkavy, Advocate & Notary
Avner Yemini, Advocate
Eran Evron, Advocate
Roy David Tony, Advocate
Ron Obuz, Advocate
Didi Goren, Advocate (1956 - 2001)