Israel appoints first Muslim [Palestinian] Supreme Court Justice

Middel East Monitor  /  February 23, 2022

Israel appointed its first Muslim [Palestinian] Supreme Court justice, one of four new officials announced on Monday.

The four new justices are Tel Aviv District Court Judge Ruth Ronnen, Tel Aviv District Court Deputy President Khaled Kabub, Jerusalem District Court Deputy President Gila Canfy Steinitz and attorney Yechiel Kasher.

According to Haaretz, Kabub, 63, the current vice-president of the Tel Aviv District Court, was slated to fill the slot reserved for an Arab [Palestinian] justice. He is now the first Muslim Arab to receive a permanent appointment to the court.

Steinitz, 63, is the vice president of the Jerusalem District Court and will be the Supreme Court’s first female Mizrahi justice.

“The four new justices elected to the Supreme Court are excellent,” said Israeli Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar following the announcement.

“They were selected according to the three criteria I set: excellence, balance and diversity. A variety of opinions, genders and ethnic backgrounds,” he added.

The Israeli Judicial Appointments committee was headed by Sa’ar and also included far right Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked, who abstained from voting for Kabub admitting she was not pleased with the appointments.

“If I had served as chairman of the committee today, the results would have been different. It is no secret that I wanted to appoint other judges,” Shaked wrote on Facebook. “The chairman of the committee, the justice minister, led a different line, but insisted on the important principle of balance and that there should be two candidates for each political side.”

The appointment process has dragged on for months, being delayed by disagreements among committee members.