Netanyahu Backs High Court's Arab Justice Over Refusal to Sing the National Anthem

Justice Salim Joubran was castigated by far-right figures, parliamentarians after being seen on TV not singing the anthem with the rest of the judges, after Supreme Court's new president was sworn in.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has recently conveyed a message to Supreme Court Justice Salim Joubran saying he supports his decision not to sing the national anthem at the judges' swearing-in ceremony about two weeks ago, Haaretz has learned.

Joubran was castigated by far-right figures and parliamentarians after he was seen on television not singing the anthem, unlike the rest of the judges, after the Supreme Court's new president, Justice Asher Grunis, had been sworn in.

Justice Salim Joubran  - Tomer Appelbaum
Tomer Appelbaum

The chairman of the Knesset's Constitution Law and Justice Committee, MK David Rotem (Yisrael Beiteinu), demanded Joubran be dismissed and MK Michael Ben-Ari (National Union) submitted a bill banning anyone who had not served in the IDF from being appointed to the Supreme Court.

Following the outcry, Netanyahu sent his envoy for the peace process, attorney Isaac Molho, to tell Joubran the premier understood him and backed his decision, officials said yesterday.

Molho reportedly told Joubran that Netanyahu appreciates his honoring the anthem by standing up and did not expect an Arab-Israeli to sing it, especially since it includes the words "a Jewish soul yearns."

Other figures from the right condemned the attack on Joubran.

"The attack on Salim Joubran is inexplicable, unnecessary and reeks of persecution due to his origin," said MK Moshe Ya'alon (Likud) after the incident.

Joubran and the Courts' spokeswoman refused to comment.