Yoav Sapir - Tomer Appelbaum
Yoav Sapir, earlier this month. Photo by Tomer Appelbaum
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Yoav Sapir will be the new head of the Public Defender's Office, replacing Inbal Rubinstein.

"The Public Defender's Office is my life's work, and I believe it has a decisive role in achieving legal and social justice," said Sapir, who has been the organization's deputy head for the last seven years, after hearing he had gotten the nod.

Rubinstein had pushed for Sapir to get the job. The organization's board, chaired by Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman, ultimately concurred, choosing him over five other candidates - three from within the Public Defender's Office and two private-sector lawyers.

Sapir, 41, joined the Public Defender's Office in 1997 as an attorney in its Tel Aviv office. He also has experience in the American public defense system, where he worked while obtaining a doctorate from Harvard.

In addition to his work in the defender's office, he teaches criminal law at Tel Aviv and Bar-Ilan universities. He has also served on various public committees, most recently one revising the definitions of murder and manslaughter.

The Public Defender's Office has about 100 attorneys on staff and some 800 private-sector lawyers on contract.