Sunday, March 11, 2012

Bibi Backs Arab Justice

Israeli Supreme Court Justice Salim Joubran, the first Arab to sit on the state's high court (and whom I blogged about here), caused a mild stir when he declined to sing the Israeli national anthem at a swearing-in ceremony (he didn't disrespect the anthem -- he just stood silently). The anthem specifically refers to the Jewish yearning for Zion, which needless to say the state's Arab residents find alienating.

The usual far-right suspects went nuts and called for him to be removed from the bench, but Justice Joubran is getting backing from a perhaps surprising source: Bibi Netanyahu himself. Netanyahu dispatched one of his top aides to assure Joubran that the Prime Minister understood and backed his decision. Meanwhile, a right-wing heavy-hitter, Moshe Ya'alon of Likud (not known as the fuzzy sort), savaged Joubran's critics, saying "The attack on Salim Joubran is inexplicable, unnecessary and reeks of persecution due to his origin."

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