Life Journey

Prof. Uriel Reichman Life's Journey

Prof. Uriel Reichman was born in Tel Aviv in 1942 to Gerda and Alfred, refugees who fled from Nazi Germany to the Land of Israel.

| Military Service |

Prof. Reichman served in the paratroopers of the Israel Defense Forces from 1960 to1963, earning the rank of lieutenant. As a commander in the IDF Reserves, he fought in the Six Day War, War of Attrition and Yom Kippur War.  After his brother, Gad, fell in battle in the Yom Kippur War, he was transferred to a non-combat unit and served as the president of a military land tribunal, with the rank of major.

| Education and Academia |

Prof. Reichman received both LL.B. and LL.M. (1967) degrees with honors from the Faculty of Law at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He earned his doctoral degree in law (J.S.D.) at the University of Chicago Law School (1975). He went on to serve as a lecturer, senior lecturer and tenured professor at the Faculty of Law at Tel Aviv University. In addition, he was a visiting professor and researcher at American and German universities. His academic publications, which have been published in Israel and the U.S., dealt with property law.

From 1985 to 1990, he served as the dean of the Faculty of Law at Tel Aviv University. In 1990, he founded the Ramot Mishpat Law School, the first private college of its kind in Israel not subsidized by the government, and led it until 1995.

In 1994, Prof. Reichman founded the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya, the first non-profit private institution of higher education in Israel. He has served as its president from its establishment to date, with the exception of only one year (2006). From a small college with only 240 students operating in the barracks of a former military base, IDC Herzliya has developed into one of the leading academic institutions in Israel under his leadership. Some 2,000 of its 7,200 students come from abroad, from 84 different countries, making IDC Herzliya a truly international institution of higher education. IDC is today internationally known and has active collaboration with over 70 leading universities worldwide. Its ten schools provide undergraduate and graduate programs, and it is about to be declared the first private university in Israel. IDC is running two of the most important international conferences in Israel: The Counter-Terrorism Conference and the Herzliya Conference.

On March 2018, Israel’s Council for Higher Education had unanimously voted to allow IDC Herzliya to apply to bestow PhD degrees, beginning with law. With the approval to confer doctorate degrees, IDC will become Israel’s first private university.

| Public Activity |

In the mid-1980s, Prof. Reichman initiated and led the team which formulated a proposal for an Israeli constitution. The proposal (1987) included reforms such as the direct election of the prime minister, constituency elections, a Bill of Rights, and a new definition of the relations between religion and state. He subsequently chaired the Movement for a Constitution in Israel and led the campaign to have the proposed constitution accepted and implemented. As a result, the Knesset passed legislation in 1992 that turned part of the proposed constitution into Basic Laws.

After the Yom Kippur War, Prof. Reichman had joined Prof. Rubinstein to establish the Shinui Movement for Change. In 2005, he rose to the challenge that then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon presented to him and became the newly established Kadima Party’s candidate for Minister of Education. Prof. Reichman was elected and became a member of Israel’s Knesset (Parliament). After the elections, when then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert gave the education portfolio to one of the parties that was Kadima’s partner in the governing coalition, Prof. Reichman resigned from the Knesset and turned down an offer to become Minister of Justice. He returned to IDC Herzliya since his only interest was trying to help the country face its educational challenges, not to pursue a political career. Upon his return, Prof. Reichman was reelected IDC Herzliya’s president.

In 2010, Prof. Reichman was awarded an honorary doctorate by Heinrich Heine University in Dusseldorf, Germany. In 2018, he was awarded the Bendetson Public Diplomacy Award by the Institute for Global Leadership in Tufts University, USA. Prof. Reichman has served on the board of directors of the First International Bank and Bank Hapoalim. He also has chaired the Israel Bar Association’s Committee for Human Rights, headed and served as a member of several public committees, and proposed reforms in the real-estate laws and in the professions of real-estate surveying and brokerage.

In 2018, the Institute for Global Leadership at Tufts University in the United States presented Prof. Reichman with the Robert and JoAnn Bendetson Public Diplomacy Award. The award committee stated that Prof. Reichman was chosen to receive the prize due to his “extraordinary leadership in establishing and building the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya, emblematic of the spirit of the award.”

Later that year, Prof. Reichman was granted an award by the Council for Higher Education (CHE) for his extensive and significant contribution to the advancement of higher education in Israel. Upon bestowing the award, the CHE stated, “Prof. Reichman took part in the change that led to the rise of colleges in Israel. As a pioneer who founded an academic institution which is not supported by the government, his actions enabled the academic system to develop, creating an additional model of non-subsidized institutions alongside the subsidized colleges. He therefore paved the way in Israel for the development of higher education that is not dependent on public funding. Following his initiative, additional institutions were founded. There is no doubt that he is the mentor who influenced the entire system, and the implications of his actions will surely influence its development in the future.”

On August 17, 2021, the Council for Higher Education officially recognized IDC Herzliya as a university.

Upon receiving the recognition, Prof. Uriel Reichman announced the conclusion of his tenure as president, 27 years after he founded IDC in an abandoned military base in Herzliya. With the CHE’s recognition and the announcement that Prof. Reichman would be ending his term, the General Assembly of IDC Herzliya made the decision to officially change the name of the institution to Reichman University.

The new name, the decision stated, is intended to faithfully reflect the institution’s character as a private (non-profit) university modeled after the world’s leading universities, an academic research institution that upholds the most stringent academic standards. At the same time, the university’s name honors and pays tribute to the ambitious vision of its president and founder, in recognition of his tireless pursuit of its realization and his groundbreaking entrepreneurship, which placed IDC Herzliya at the forefront of Israeli academia in only 27 years’ time.


Prof. Uriel Reichman is married to Nira Reichman, an architect, and is the father of two daughters, Ronit and Anat, and Gadi Slade, and is the grandfather of seven grandchildren