High Court Judge: Arabs Are Discriminated Against

November 26, 2014  

Arab High Court judge Salim Jubran said Wednesday that Israeli Arabs were victims of discrimination. Speaking before a group, Jubran said that “I could talk about equality and fairness for many hours, but instead I will quote the Declaration of Independence. You be the judge. The Declaration spoke about equality, but unfortunately we do not see equality in society. According to the Or Commission on equality in society, Arab citizens of Israel live in a different reality from Jews and are discriminated against.”

According to Jubran, there is discrimination against Arabs in all levels of Israeli society, including education, employment, and land allocation. Speaking to a group of lawyers in Eilat, Wednesday, he said that there were many signs of this in Israeli society. “There are fewer industrial zones near Arab towns, meaning there are fewer jobs for Arabs. And even in the road signs in Arabic there are a lot of mistakes,” he said.

With that, he added, much of the responsibility for the situation rests on the shoulders of the leadership of Arab communities. “The leaders need to take responsibility for problems in their communities and work them out. They, too, need to meet with leaders and demand that these gaps be lessened.”

In order to achieve true co-existence, he added, Arabs and Jews must respect each other. “If we do this our situation will be much better,” he said. “We must meet with each other and remove the prejudices from our hearts.”

In 2012, Jubran refused to sing Hatikvah, Israel’s national anthem, at the swearing in of High Court president Judge Asher Grunis. 

At the end of Grunis’ swearing in ceremony, everyone stood up and sang Hatikvah, the Israeli national anthem, together. Arab judge Salim Jubran, however, chose not to participate in the singing. The report cited the judge’s associates as having said that the issue of singing the anthem is a “very sensitive” matter for judge Jubran, but did not provide details on what exactly that meant. The Israeli anthem expresses the Jewish longing to return and be a free people in their homeland, Zion and Jerusalem, but does not in any way negate the presence of non-Jews in the country.

Jubran’s refusal to sing the Israeli national anthem was met with outrage, particularly among nationalist politicians, who told Channel 2 that it is unacceptable that a Supreme Court judge refuses to sing Hatikvah.

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