Out of the blue I received an email yesterday seeking my knowledge of mediation as a career and process in Israel: How do you study? How long does it take? What requirements are there?
The answer I gave is a bit depressing, but I guess, for now, it’s how I see it:
I studied for a Masters at Bar Ilan University in Ramat Gan. They have a program there called Conflict Management and Negotiation, and a part of it is to take the official Gishur (mediation) course, which, when passed, certifies you to become a mediator. Along with that, if I’m remembering correctly, you need at least five years working for someone (lawyer, etc) related to mediation, a BA in psychology, sociology, law, or something related, and there may be other reqs I’m not recalling.
I didn’t end up doing the Gishur course (life got in the way). They offered by all different organizations, so you could actually be a lawyer and take it, etc. It’s a matter of being officially recognized. But it takes more work than just the course, as I outlined.
Mediation as a private practice is not very popular here – yet. The court system uses mediation in family and small claims cases many times, and that is the main way to break into it. It’s not easy to break into though as there are limited positions. As one of my professors said, if you want to get into gishur here in Israel, don’t make it your main job.
It’s unfortunate, of course. This is a country where many folks are very interested in alternative resolution to many other problems – health, stress, physical wellbeing especially. But culturally, it’s a place where people often have trouble listening to authority. Let alone volunteering to be counseled by it.
Sorry if that sounds depressing! At the same time that I was studying for the MA I was working in hi tech and ended up finding that I could actually make a living in hi tech, and didn’t have time for both. So the mediation is on hold for me now.
Let me know if you have any other questions.
I might be wrong; it might be more optimistic if you ask someone else. I hope it is. This is where I am right now, and I don’t know what will be for me or the future of mediation in Israel in general. There is a lot to be gained here by accepting the process.