The Supreme Court > Adiel lo, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Judge Khaled Kabub was sworn in this week as the first Muslim member of Israel’s Supreme Court.

Kabub was one of a tranche of 81 judicial nominees appointed to various courts who formally took up their positions after a special ceremony on Monday at the President’s Residence. President Isaac Herzog, justice minister Gideon Sa’ar and Supreme Court president Esther Hayut were all in attendance.

Kabub, who is 64 and previously served as vice-president of the Tel Aviv District Court, replaces Neal Hendel who is retiring from Israel’s highest court. Kabub is not the first Arab-Israeli appointed to the Supreme Court although his predecessors were Christian rather than Muslim.

In all, the Supreme Court has 15 members, and Kabub was one of four other appointments, which included Judge Ruth Ronnen, attorney Yechiel Kasher and Judge Gila Kan-Steinitz. Kan-Steinitz is the Supreme Court’s first female justice of Mizrahi Jewish heritage.

Speaking at the ceremony, Hayut emphasised what she termed the “judicial temperament” and dismissed the notion that justices could separate their personal lives from their role in the legal system.
“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,” she argued. ”This fact obliges each and every one of us, the judges, to act responsibly.”
Hayut added: “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.”

Overall, the appointments are expected to fulfil justice minister Sa’ar’s ambition of tilting the Supreme Court in a more conservative direction. Kabub and Ronnen are, like Hayut, both seen as moderate activists. Kasher and Kan-Steinitz are, however, viewed as moderate conservatives.
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