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Israel welcomes first Muslim Supreme Court judge

64-year-old Khaled Kabub will serve as one of 15 members in Israel’s top judicial authority

Judge Khaled Kabub (center) at a swearing in ceremony for newly appointed judges at the President's Residence in Jerusalem, May 09, 2022. (Photo: Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Justice Khaled Kabub was sworn in on Monday as Israel’s first Arab-Muslim judge appointed to the Supreme Court, the nation’s highest judicial authority.

All Israeli-Arab justices who previously served in Israel’s top court were Christians.

Born in Jaffa, 64-year-old Kabub replaces retiring justice Neal Hendel and will enter office along with 80 other judges who were sworn in to various positions at the Court. 

Kabub’s appointment was one of three new nominations made during efforts to reorganize the 15-member judicial panel presiding over Israel’s top court. Supreme Court justices frequently rule on matters affecting society – both criminal and civil cases – as well as overseeing adherence to constitutional laws and issues surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Kabub, known for his constitutional views, is no newcomer to Israel’s judicial system. Prior to his recent appointment, Kabub served as vice president of the Tel Aviv District Court since 2017. Before that, he was a judge in the Netanya magistrate court from 1997 until 2003, after which he entered the Tel Aviv district.

Kabub’s Supreme Court appointment, first announced in February, contradicted claims made by Amnesty International that Israel is an apartheid state, subjecting Palestinians to a political system of discrimination and mistreatment. Prior to Kabub’s appointment, a female Muslim judge from Nazareth had been chosen to serve in an Israeli district court.

“The Judicial Selection Committee bears heavy responsibility in selecting Israeli judges in general and in shaping the image of the Supreme Court in particular,” said Justice Minister Gideon Sa'ar at the time.

Sa’ar was a member of the selection committee and went on to state, “The four new justices elected to the Supreme Court are excellent. Their selection reflects the right choice according to the three metrics that I have set: excellence, balance and diversity."

Kabub’s appointment on Monday follows inflammatory remarks made by Knesset Member Yitzhak Pindrus of United Torah Judaism. Pindrus, a religious lawmaker, received a backlash of criticism from various coalition members for stating he would like “to blow up” the Supreme Court for interfering with the coalition government.

The comments, made during a lecture to ultra-Orthodox students, were allegedly in response to what Pindrus considered to be the court’s “gross overstep” into the work of the Knesset.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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