Israel hands Muslim judge permanent Supreme Court seat

Judge Khaled Kabub is the first Muslim permanently named to the tribunal in the nation where there have been complaints of systematic discrimination. PHOTO: JUDGESCV.COURT.GOV.IL

JERUSALEM (AFP) - Israel on Monday (Feb 21) named Mr Khaled Kabub as its first Muslim judge to gain a permanent seat on the Supreme Court, the Jewish state's highest judicial authority, court authorities said.

More than 20 per cent of Israeli citizens are Arab, and there has been an Arab jurist on the top court since 2003, but all previous appointees have been Christian.

Judge Kabub, 63, has become the first Muslim permanently named to the tribunal in the nation where Arabs, Christian and Muslim, have complained of systematic discrimination.

Previously a judge at the Tel Aviv district court, Mr Kabub was one of four new justices appointed by a committee comprised of Supreme Court judges, ministers, lawmakers and lawyers.

Born in Jaffa, he studied history and Islam at Tel Aviv University. He completed his law degree there, then worked in private practice before becoming a judge.

The only other Muslim to have sat on the Supreme Court was Mr Abdel Rahman Zoabi, who was given a temporary, one-year term, in 1999.

Israel's Supreme Court regularly hears cases that touch on flashpoints in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including alleged violations by troops in the occupied West Bank.

The court is also due to decide on efforts by seven Palestinian families to overturn lower court rulings evicting them from their homes in the flashpoint neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah, in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem.

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