For the first time in the country’s history an Israeli Arab judge will chair the Central Elections Committee.

Supreme Court Justice Salim Joubran will head the body that reviews election broadcasts, decides what is or isn’t acceptable propaganda, and can fine parties that break the rules.

In March 2012, Joubran was criticized by some on the right when he refrained from singing the national anthem during a swearing-in ceremony for new Supreme Court justices. His position was supported by his predecessor in the post, fellow justice Elyakim Rubinstein, who wrote in a letter that while non-Jewish citizens should show respect for the anthem by standing, they should not feel obligated to sing words that do not speak to their hearts.

In October, Joubran will preside over the elections for local authorities.

A Christian who grew up in the north of Israel, Joubran was the first Israeli Arab to be appointed to a permanent seat on the Supreme Court.