Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon lashed out Friday at Yisrael Beytenu MK Robert Ilatov over his “morally bankrupt” demand that anyone seeking to be a judge in Israel must be prepared to sing the national anthem.
Ilatov’s Thursday ultimatum came just hours after he was appointed to the committee tasked with judicial appointments, following a deal by his party leader Avigdor Liberman and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to install two right-wingers on the panel.
“If an Arab or a member of another minority is not appointed to the bench because he does not sing the words of ‘Hatikva’, it would be morally bankrupt,” Ya’alon wrote on Twitter. “Anyone who insists that non-Jews sing the words ‘the Jewish soul yearns’ as a condition for integration into society is malicious incitement against an entire population and seriously harms the quality of life in Israel.”
He went on: “We do not require soldiers and officers from minorities who risk their lives for their country to sing the words to ‘Hatikva’, only to honor the national anthem by standing to attention and saluting.
“Crazy ideas like these…are a mark of shame on the foreheads of those who propose them.”
Retired Israeli Arab judge Hashim Khatib told Israel Radio on Thursday that, “No self-respecting Arab lawyer is now going to put himself forward to become a judge.”