Arab Justice Rejects Israeli Anthem
Justice Salim Joubran refuses to sing Hatikva during Supreme Court’s Presidential Exchange
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Israel, Israel über alles,
| Israel, Israel above everything,
Netanyahu Bought Justice
On, December 12, 2011, Netanyahu’s coalition withdrew from the Knesset what is known as the Grunis Law, named after Justice Asher Dan Grunis. This was a personal law legislated specifically to allow Mr. Grunis to become President of Israel’s Supreme Court (see Netanyahu buys Justice). Back then, Netanyahu was under pressure. In February 2012, Dorit Beinisch, the former president, was to retire since Justices in Israel retire at the age of 70. Among all candidates—the remaining 13—Asher Dan Grunis was the one favored by Netanyahu to become the next president. Grunis is a descendant of Rabbi Yitzhak Meir Alter, founder of the Gur Hassidic movement. As such, he is the closest existing candidate to the right-wing, Pharisaic ideology favored by Netanyahu’s coalition. Unluckily, another right-wing government sabotaged this already in July 2007, when it promoted an amendment to the Israel Courts Law stating that a Justice with less than three years of service left would not be eligible as president. On the day the former president left office, Mr. Grunis was 41 days short of this limitation. Hence, he could not be elected. Netanyahu tried to rush the Grunis Law through the Knesset, so that his favored Justice would become president. The opposition placed 5000 objections in the way of the new law. Consequently, it was withdrawn. However, following a tortuous legislative path, it was eventually approved, and yesterday, Justice Grunis was sworn in as President of Israel’s Supreme Court of Justice.
The importance of this appointment became clear a few days ago, when under the leadership of the former president—Justice Dorit Beinisch—the court nullified the Tal Law. This law allows ultra-Orthodox Jews (Haredim and Hasidim) to choose whether or not to serve in the IDF. For other Israelis service in the IDF is mandatory. Most of them decline. The new president of the court opposed the nullification of the law. He declared he doesn’t believe the court should intervene in this case. Now that he became president of the court he acquired more power to influence whatever decision would be taken in the following months. If no new law is legislated, the Haredim will have to serve in the army. Netanyahu’s coalitional government depends on the Haredim; thus, he must keep them out of the army. He may need for that the support of the Supreme Court. Netanyahu’s acquisition of a Justice—the President of the Supreme Court no less—will pay off quickly.
Israel’s Supreme Court Discriminates
The silent protest of Justice Salim Jubran during the ceremony may seem exaggerated. After all, he is from a Christian Arab family descended from Lebanese Maronites and serves in the highest Israeli court. He is in charge of applying justice and making sure there is no discrimination. Yet, Israel’s Supreme court has a disturbing history of discrimination against non-Jews.
The seat of Justice Jubran himself is a testimony of that. He is the first Arab to receive a permanent appointment in the Supreme Court, and the second Arab judge to hold a Supreme Court appointment. He was preceded by Abdel Rahman Zuabi, who held a fixed nine month appointment in 1999. That is for a minority of over 20% of the country’s population!
Another good example of discrimination is the “Citizenship Law (Temporary Order)” of the State of Israel, which dates in its actual version back to September 2005. From the days of its previous version (2003) it is approved temporarily by the Israeli government every year. In 2006, five judges of the High Court of Justice stated that the law contravened the Basic Law on Human Dignity and Freedom and that it must be removed from the law books. Yet, it has been extended in an extra-parliamentary fashion every year since then.
It doesn’t override the “Law of Return,” a racist monster giving automatic citizenship to every Jew arriving in Israel (the question “Who is a Jew?” was never answered by the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament), thus this law is aimed mainly at regulating the status of non-Jews requesting Israeli citizenship; it specifically discriminates Arabs. To be clear, that means Palestinians asking for citizenship after having married an Israeli citizen. It stipulates that the Minister of Interior does not have authority to approve Israeli residence for a resident of Judea and Samaria (unless they are Jewish settlers!). This is so even regarding marriage, when it comes to Palestinian spouses who are younger than 35 (men) or 25 (women). The law prevents young Israeli citizens (supposedly Palestinians) from marrying the spouse of their choice and living in Israel, if the latter is a Palestinian from Judea and Samaria.
In March 2010, the Citizenship Law was being questioned in the Israeli Supreme Court on the grounds of being discriminatory. Justice Rubinstein (the publication of official documents proving his corruption was suppressed by the Israeli media in 2005) claimed that there is no country in the situation of Israel and thus the law is justified. The president of the court at the time, Dorit Beinish, supported this odd claim. Accordingly, since it was amended in 2005, 632 requests of citizenship were rejected by the state, on the grounds that the petitioners may use their new status to become terrorists with easier access to Israel. 632 Broken families; 1264 new testimonies of Israel’s inhumanity and an unknown number of children that will not be born.
Member of the Knesset Ben Ari, isn’t the insolence yours? Aren’t you degrading humanity? Who gave you the right to define Israel as an ethnic or religious state? Israeli citizens never had a say in this. The UN stipulated clear conditions to avoid that when it allowed Israel to declare independence (see Is Israel Sovereign?; specifically the parallel independence of Palestine and respecting human rights). Justice Grunis and MK Ben Ari, can you—please—tell me who gave the Israeli Administration the right to define a racist national anthem? Who gave you the right to decide who will marry whom? Who gave you the right to favor Haredim and discriminate against all others? We say a loud and clear “No!” to you and all institutions promoting your racist policies. Never again!*
* - “Never Again!” is a popular slogan of the Zionists when talking about Nazi Germany.
Addendum: HaTikva Words
Judge by yourself, can a non-Jewish citizen of Israel identify himself—or herself—with the following words?:
As long as in the heart, within, | Kol ‘od balevav pnima
Our hope is not yet lost, | ‘Od lo avdah tikvateinu,
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