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Khaled Kabub sworn in as Israeli Supreme Court’s first Muslim justice

Former Tel Aviv District Court vice president sworn into post alongside 81 other judges appointed to various judicial positions; will replace retiring justice Neal Hendel

Judge Khaled Kabub seen at the Tel Aviv District Court during the opening session in the State prosecution against former Chairman of IDB Group Nochi Dankner, July 13, 2014. (Lior Ben Nisan/ POOL/ Flash90/ File)
Judge Khaled Kabub seen at the Tel Aviv District Court during the opening session in the State prosecution against former Chairman of IDB Group Nochi Dankner, July 13, 2014. (Lior Ben Nisan/ POOL/ Flash90/ File)

Judge Khaled Kabub on Monday became the first Muslim appointed to Israel’s Supreme Court. All previous Arab Israeli justices on the 15-member court have been Christians.

Kabub entered the post alongside some 81 other judges who were sworn in to various court positions at a special ceremony at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem, attended by President Isaac Herzog, Supreme Court President Esther Hayut, and Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar.

The 64-year-old Kabub, who until now served as vice president of the Tel Aviv District Court, will take the place of retiring justice Neal Hendel.

In September 1997, Kabub was appointed as a judge to the Netanya Magistrate’s Court. In June 2003, he was appointed a judge of the Tel Aviv District Court, and in September 2017 was appointed as vice president.

His most significant ruling was the 2016 conviction of former billionaire Nochi Dankner for manipulating shares in his company.

In 2018, Kabub sought the post, but eventually withdrew his candidacy, reportedly after realizing he had no realistic chance of being appointed.

Supreme Court President Esther Hayut speaks at a swearing in ceremony for newly appointed judges at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem, on May 9, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Speaking at the ceremony, Hayut welcomed the new judges, reminding them that “the ability to listen patiently to the arguments presented to you, and to conduct the hearing in moderation and matter-of-factly, is at the heart of that ‘judicial temperament’ which should be expressed in all your actions, both in and out of court.”

The president further emphasized that “upon joining the judiciary, the way you will conduct yourself in the court and in your personal life will inevitably radiate to the entire apparatus. This fact obliges each and every one of us, the judges, to act responsibly.”

Kabub was one of three new Supreme Court justices appointed by the Judicial Appointments Committee last February.

The three other new justices are Judge Ruth Ronnen, attorney Yechiel Kasher, and Judge Gila Kanfi-Steinitz — who will be the Supreme Court’s first female justice of Mizrahi Jewish heritage.

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