What is the mediation process?

Mediation is a structured process to resolve conflicts in a respectful manner through agreement with the help of two qualified and neutral mediators. Mediators are not judges or arbitrators. In contrast to legal proceedings, mediators do not determine who is right or wrong. They are equipped with the professional tools to support the parties as they reach understandings and agreements, and finally sign a binding contract. The goal of mediation is to enable respectful dialogue about a matter in dispute in order to find a good solution that is agreeable to all participating parties. This process is founded on the belief in the “win-win” principle, whereby it is possible to achieve an optimal solution for all involved. The parties are the decision-makers. They formulate the final agreement while maintaining confidentiality and being supported by qualified mediators. Mediation can help resolve conflicts in a range of life areas, including but not limited to: family, wills, inheritance, divorce, neighbors, urban renewal, consumer complaints, work, disputes between residents and authorities, community disputes, inter-organizational and intra-organizational disputes.

Mosaica offers professional mediation services adapted to address the needs of specific populations, cultures, languages, and religions—accessible to people with disabilities and all socio-economic levels (many of the services are free or symbolically priced).

Why choose mediation?

A good solution for me: The mediation process allows parties to opt for solutions most appropriate for their dispute. Solutions proposed in such processes are often creative and fashioned to address the complex matters raised by each party.

Involved parties control the process: The process is voluntary and is conducted through mutual agreement that may be stopped by any party at any time. During mediation, each party can express themselves freely in an atmosphere of respect and with the guidance of conflict resolution professionals. Anyone may voice their opinions, fears, and desires. Moreover, the parties decide how and what to include in the formulated agreement.

A valid agreement: The contract finalized and signed by the parties at the end of the process is fully binding and the involved parties may request that it also be given legal validity.

Nothing to lose: The process is secret and confidential. In cases when the parties fail to come to an agreement and decide to settle the matter in court, information raised during the mediation will not be admissible in court.

A solution that builds and preserves relationships: Mediation places the involved parties at center stage, addressing the relationships involved in the dispute and enabling their preservation (particularly important when there are ongoing relationships, such as disputes between neighbors, family members, colleagues, and others).

When is mediation appropriate?

Mediation may be started at any point of the dispute. It is advisable to begin as early as possible – when the dispute first breaks out and prior to contacting the police or the courts. However, many cases are referred to Mosaica for mediation by the courts or law enforcement representatives. Mediation often provides an avenue for agreements and avoiding a claim or a police case file.

Who could use mediation?

Any person, company, community, group, organization in conflict with another who is looking to resolve conflict peacefully.

Is it necessary for both parties to contact the mediation center?

Any one party of the dispute may approach Mosaica without need for the prior consent of the other party.

The Mosaica team will contact the other party to see if they are open to the possibility of mediation. Our staff specializes in promoting inclusive mediation and has often managed to bring initially reluctant parties to the process.

As this is a voluntary process, mediation cannot proceed without the consent of the other party. However, in cases where only one party is on board, Mosaica offers conflict resolution coaching.

Who refers and is referred to mediation?

Any person in a dispute may independently contact Mosaica for mediation.

Additionally, Mosaica partners with many bodies that refer cases for mediation, including the Israel Police, Israeli Courts, Land Registration Inspectors, municipal welfare departments, urban renewal administrations, community leaders, municipalities, NGOs and other organizations.

Who are the mediators?

The Mosaica mediation team is comprised of experienced qualified mediators, graduates of a basic mediation course and practical internship (practicum) recognized by the Israeli Courts. The Mosaica mediator team include mediators who have the experience to deal with the wide and varied array of topics and specialties relevant to the mediation process as well as mediators fluent in several languages.

What happens if the mediation process fails?

If the dispute is not resolved during mediation, the parties still have all the options they had prior to attempting mediation. The involved people, including assigned mediators, are all committed to confidentiality regarding anything said during the process. Also, mediation processes are considered privileged information that cannot be presented as evidence in a court of law.

 

It is noteworthy that failing to draft a written agreement, does not necessarily mean the mediation process failed. We often see a significant improvement in the relationship between parties even if no final contract is signed, reducing the level of tension and bringing additional benefits.

 

Moreover, the parties receive personalized conflict resolution services and training to manage negotiations and resolve conflicts.

What is the validity of a mediation contract?

The contract signed by the parties is legally binding. Agreements signed through mediation are just like any other contract, subject to Contract Law. Any violation can be enforced through the legal system.  The parties have the option to the request that the courts give the signed contract the legal status of a court ruling even when the case is not in court.

Research has shown that parties are more likely to adhere to mediated agreements then to court rulings, as these are agreements reached by mutual assent, not dictated by the court.

Problems or violations of the contract may always be addressed by returning to Mosaica and convening another mediation meeting.

 

Where is mediation conducted?

Residents of Jerusalem or the surrounding area may come to the Mosaica office on 32 General Pierre Koenig Street, Talpiot, Jerusalem. Mosaica also offers online services via Zoom. In addition, Mosaica collaborates with over 45 Community Dialogue and Mediation Centers in the community across the country and can refer people to centers close to their place of residence.

How is the mediation process structured?

The mediation process begins with an intake conversation with the contacting party to understand the particulars of the case and to receive contact details which is necessary to approach the other party or parties. Afterwards, the other party is invited to participate. If they agree, a date is set to begin mediation.

Mediation is a structured process during which each party tells its point of view of the dispute. Many times, separate conversations are held with each of the parties during which the mediators helps the parties advance towards negotiations and reach an official mediation agreement.

How long does it take?

Every mediation meeting lasts two hours. Some mediation processes can be completed in a single meeting and other processes require a series of meetings.

How much does it cost?

The cost is divided equally between both parties and depends on the type of mediation and number of meetings required. The cost will be determined after an initial intake call with the parties.

It is important to note that economic difficulties do not impede mediations from taking place. When necessary, applications for partial or full subsidies can be submitted and will be reviewed by the Center’s executive committee.

What language is used during mediation?

Hebrew, Arabic, English, French, Yiddish, Spanish, Italian, and Russian

Examples of Mediation from Various Fields

Work-related mediation

Shoshana (age 59) and Amira, her niece, worked as seamstresses in the “Needle and Thread” textile factory. They had long felt a deterioration in the factory’s treatment of its employees, evident in dismissive and offensive remarks, offenses to their dignity, preferential treatment of other employees at their expense and being subjected to yelling. They even wrote a warning letter describing their experiences. One day, Shoshana broke her leg during a shift at the factory. During her recovery, Shoshana and Amira could not come to the office. The manager, Rachamim, was informed long ago that Amira could not come to work without her aunt. Therefore, she was absent from work due to her aunt’s absence. Shoshana also felt she was treated particularly badly while recovering her from injury: she was not offered help, her pain and suffering were ignored, and not even minimal steps were taken to care for her in her time of need. Moreover, neither received the social benefits they should have received, such as pension and timely wages, in addition to convalescence pay, sick pay, and vacation pay as required by law. Due to this mistreatment, as well as the lack of legally mandated appropriate working conditions and timely provision of worker rights, the two women decided to resign. They submitted an official resignation letter that included a declaration of work termination and claim for damages.

 

The other party, Rachamim had a different narrative. He is the manager and owner of the factory, a family-run business that also employed his wife and daughter. He explained that he always tried to ensure a pleasant work environment for employees, including chatting patiently and cordially with all workers. He even made a personal effort for Shoshana by arranging a parking place for her, a nice spot to eat lunch, and even a quiet place for her to meet her regular clients. In his view, Shoshana and Amira abandoned their work just prior to the Passover holidays, knowing this desertion would prevent the factory from meeting its contractual obligations. The family business, coping with severe debt at the time, was unable to recover from the damage caused by the two employees’ departure. He maintained that the complaints of the two women were rude beyond reason and even constituted libel. The claim for severance pay was extortion and therefore, he was unwilling to cooperate. Regarding pension pay, he claimed to have asked them on several occasions into which fund to deposit their money. Once they were to decide on the pension fund of their choice, he would immediately transfer the money owed.

During the mediation, the parties discussed their individual expectations from the other side and the mutual sense of disappointment from the other’s conduct after so many years of working together. They also discussed the terms of employment and reached an agreement on the manner of wage payment and provision of social benefits, retroactively and in the future. Moreover, everyone agreed that the atmosphere in the factory is of the utmost importance, agreeing on appropriate work conduct. Furthermore, the three worked to draft a statement of principles determining how early requests on personal needs or vacation days would be submitted.

Consumer Mediation

Yonatan, a young man from the Religious-Zionist sector, contacted a matchmaking agency to find a spouse. The agency asked for his permission to provide his phone number to potential mates and he gladly agreed. To his great disappointment, no girl contacted him. Moreover, he did not hear from the agency again. Their lack of response was a great source of anger as he had paid the agency a substantial sum of money for services and claimed they had broken their promise. The relationship he had with the agency had come to an end and a year passed without any further constructive communication between the two parties. A rabbi recommended that Yonatan begin mediation and he agreed to try this avenue before taking his case to court.

During the mediation, the agency owner explained that he had avoided checking in on the client after his phone number was changed as he feared to accidently “sabotage” the matchmaking process and did not want to apply any pressure on either party. He also explained that he had expected Yonatan to report to the agency office if he did not hear from the woman or the relationship failed. Thanks to mediation, the agency owner understood Yonatan’s great disappointment and Yonatan had the opportunity to hear directly from the owner in a pleasant and calm environment.

The two parties agreed that Yonatan would receive matchmaking services for an additional year without any additional cost and the owner would personally oversee his case.

The two parties concluded the process happy and mutually satisfied.

Neighbor Mediation

Dan, a single father, has been a resident of an apartment building in Jerusalem for the past eight years. His apartment is located just below the apartment of Alex and Dana. The dispute between the two families came about because Alex and Dana claimed that Dan barbecued on his porch and the smoke rose to their floor. This particularly bothered them on Saturdays, as the couple was religious and observed Sabbath restrictions. This was the beginning of a series of problems between the families. Dan’s son damaged the couple’s family car while he was on leave from military service, causing a slight dent in their car door. Upset by the car damage and the fact that Dan failed to apologize, the couple submitted a complaint to a community police officer. During the investigation, the police officer knocked on Dan’s door in the middle of the night. The following day, Alex and Dana filed a claim against Dan for their damaged car. Dan was enraged that they turned to the police without speaking to him first. He had intended to come to their apartment, apologize for the damage and see what reparations were needed, but the police had already been contacted. On the other hand, in the last year, there was a leaked water pipe in the couple’s apartment that trickled down to destroy the ceiling of Dan’s bathroom. This ceiling now needed repainting. Dan also claimed that the couple were unreasonably noisy at all hours of the day caused by, among other things, dragging furniture and wearing high-heeled shoes.

The meeting of the neighbors began in a very contentious atmosphere. Each side presented arguments against the other and both struggled to listen. Tension between the three ran so high that the mediators chose to speak to each side separately to discuss matters pertaining to each apartment.

During several joint meetings, the atmosphere changed, and the parties learned to understand and respect the other. Dan learned that the couple had tried to paint his bathroom ceiling but called the painter time and again when he was absent from home. “Had we just talked to each other…,” said the neighbors. Alex and Dana understood that Dan had intended to pay for the damaged car. Had they spoken earlier, the suffering caused by contacting the police and filing a legal claim would have been avoided. As it happens, Dan is a professional mechanic who makes his living fixing damaged cars and he agreed to fix their car although a new door would have been cheaper. Alex and Dana proposed using the difference in cost of repair to buy paint needed to repaint Dan’s ceiling. Most importantly, the three exchanged phone numbers. Since then, Dan informs Alex and Dana before barbecuing on the porch so that they have time to shut their windows. The two families have gone back to living peacefully in coexistence.