June 2, 1953 |
|Alma mater||Hebrew University of Jerusalem|
|Known for||Co-chief peace negotiator at Camp David|
Gilead Sher (Hebrew: גלעד שר; born in 1953) is an Israeli attorney who served as Chief of Staff and Policy Coordinator to Israel's former Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, Ehud Barak. In that capacity he acted as Israel's co-chief peace negotiator in 1999–2001, at the Camp David summit in 2000 and the Taba summit in 2001, as well as in extensive rounds of covert negotiations with the Palestinians.
Sher was born on June 2, 1953 in Kibbutz Mahanayim, Israel. Sher, on his mother's side, is a descendant of the Sephardic Baruch Mizrachi family, which has resided in Jerusalem since 1620. On his father's side, Sher's grandfather, Avraham Sher (Ser) was killed in action as an Haganah fighter in Israel's War of Independence in 1947. Gilead is married to Ruti and has four children.
Sher is a graduate of the Hebrew University Law School and was admitted to the Israel Bar Association in 1981. He has also completed courses in project finance at the World Bank (1996) and at Harvard University (1999).
Journalist and news presenter
Sher started his career as a news editor and radio news presenter for Kol Yisrael, where he subsequently served as a parliamentary and legal correspondent, and was the radio's correspondent in Paris from 1981–1983.
Sher founded the law firm Gilead Sher and Co. in 1989. The firm has offices in both Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Between 2005–2010, as a result of a merger, Sher became a senior founding partner at Aaronsohn, Sher, Aboulafia, Amoday and Co., which was ranked amongst Israel's 20 largest law firms. His main fields of expertise are corporate law, project finance, constitutional and administrative law, international business ventures, investments and transactions, dispute resolution and both private and public international law.
Since 2001, Sher teaches annually at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. His lectures focus on dispute resolution and negotiations in times of crisis. Sher also teaches at the Tel Aviv University as an adjunct professor, delivering seminars at the international M.A. program in conflict resolution and mediation. He has also lectured at Harvard and Northwestern universities in the United States, the University of Windsor in Canada, La Sapienza and Luiss universities in Rome, San Pablo and Universidad Francisco Marroquín in Guatemala, and has been a guest speaker at the master's degree studies of Progetto SABB for excellence in Assisi, Italy.
Sher's involvement in Middle East peace efforts started during the tenure of the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, when as a reserve IDF colonel he headed the negotiation project at the Planning Directorate of the IDF and served as delegate to the talks on the Oslo Accords. He was later appointed by Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Barak in 1999 to negotiate the Sharm el-Sheikh Memorandum which was signed on September 4, 1999 between Israel and the PLO. He was subsequently appointed head of the negotiation team at the Camp David peace summit which was convened by former US President Bill Clinton.
Sher also served as a co-chief peace negotiator at the Taba peace talks of 2001, as well as in extensive rounds of covert peace negotiations with the Palestinians. Sher's efforts for peace were recognized by former US President Clinton who thanked him for his "heavy labor for a different future for your people and your neighbors". Sher was appointed Chevalier de l'Ordre national du Merite in 2002 by the former President of France, Jacques Chirac, as appreciation for his efforts to promote peace in the Middle East.
Sher gives an account of his involvement in the peace process in his book The Israeli-Palestinian Peace Negotiations 1999–2001, Within Reach which was published in Hebrew in 2001, translated into Arabic and published in English by Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group in 2006.
Sher served as head of the Prime Minister's Office and was the PM's policy coordinator from 2000–2001.
Civil society activities
Sher is a member of the Council for Peace and Security and the Association of Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) (a board member from 1990–1991 and from 2007–2011) and is a founding member of the Citizen Empowerment Center in Israel. He is co-chairman of Blue White Future, which he helped establish. He is also Chairman of the Board of the Sam Spiegel School Film and Television in Jerusalem and board member at Budo For Peace—co-existence for peace through martial arts.
Sher is a former President of the Israel Ohshima Shotokan Karate Association, holding fifth Dan, the highest possible grade in the school, and has taught martial arts since 1984. During high school, Sher was a national level athlete in high jump and pentathlon.
- Letter from President Clinton to Gilead Sher, 27th February 2001 and reproduced in Within Reach, by Gilead Sher, Hebrew version (2001), published by Yediot Aharonot.