Arab Justice's Refusal to Sing Israel's National Anthem Sparks Furor Among Right-wing MKs

Supreme Court Justice Salim Joubran refused to sing 'Hatikva' at retirement ceremony of Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch, prompting calls for his removal.

Barak Ravid
Haaretz
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Barak Ravid
Haaretz

Right-wing MKs slammed Supreme Court Justice Salim Joubran on Wednesday, after he refused to sing the national anthem at the retirement ceremony of Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch.

Joubran, the only Arab on the Supreme Court, did not explain why he did not sing "Hatikva" at the end of the ceremony with the rest of the judges on stage, but rightist MKs reacted strongly, and some even called to remove him from his post. Friends of the judge say he objects to singing "Hatikva" on principle.

Salim JoubranCredit: Tomer Appelbaum

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National Union MK Michael Ben Ari said he intends to put forward the 'Joubran bill,' according to which a judge who did not serve in the IDF or national service would not be able to serve as Supreme Court Justice.

Constitution, Law and Justice Committee chairman MK David Rotem from Yisrael Beiteinu, said he plans to ask Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman to retire Joubran. Right-wing politician Moshe Feiglin of the Jewish Leadership faction of the Likud said that Joubran should return his Israeli identification card and receive resident status only.

Many Arab citizens refuse to sing the national anthem because it only alludes to Jews and the yearning of the Jewish soul for the Holy Land.

Meretz Chairwoman Zahava Gal-On defended Joubran, saying that to "put a Supreme Court Justice through Kahana's and Liberman's loyalty tests is meant to undermine democracy, a regime that has more respect for people than for symbols."

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