'Apartheid' Israel appoints first Muslim and first Sephardi woman Supreme Court Justices

Khaled Kabub will become the first permanent Muslim judge on the court


Just weeks after being branded an 'apartheid' state by Amnesty International, Israel is set to promote its first Muslim Arab justice to a permanent seat on its highest court.

Israel's Judicial Appointments Committee today announced four new justices, including Muslim judge Khaled Kubub and Gila Kanfei-Steinitz, who is the first female judge with Sephardi ancestry on the court.

The news of these appointments comes just weeks after Israel was branded 'an apartheid regime' by human rights group Amnesty International. At the time, The Board of Deputies and the Jewish Leadership Council launched a scathing attack on the charity accusing Amnesty of a “preposterous slur,” in its description of Israel as an "apartheid" state. 

A joint statement from the Board President and JLC said: “We are shocked but not surprised by the content given the history of AI UK’s one-sided positioning on Israel.

“The report is completely biased and applies standards to Israel that are not applied to any other country. The emotive term “apartheid” against Israel is a preposterous slur. Israel is a vibrant democracy and a state for all its citizens, as exemplified by its diverse government and robust civil society." 

This is not the first time that an Arab-Israeli has been represented on the court, with Salim Joubran making history as the first Arab appointed in 2004. However, all previous Arab-Israelis to serve as justices have been Christian, making Kubub the first Muslim Arab to hold the role.

The only other Muslim to have served on the court was Abdel Rahman Zoabi, who briefly presided for a year in 1999.

Born in Jaffa, Kubub studied Law at Tel Aviv University before working in private practice. He was later appointed a judge in the Tel Aviv district court.

The justices appointed by the committee are due to rule on the eviction case of seven Palestinian families in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood of Jerusalem, a case which was a flashpoint in the summer of 2021.

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