Apartheid? Meet the Arab in Charge of Israel’s Elections

Tuesday, March 17, 2015 |  David Lazarus

For the first time in the country’s history, an Arab judge is chairing the Central Elections Committee presiding over today’s national elections.

Justice Salim Jubran (pictured) is a Christian Arab who grew up in the north of Israel. In 2004, he became the first Israeli Arab to be appointed a permanent seat on the Supreme Court.

Earlier this year, he was given the daunting task of overseeing all those hot-button, contentious and touchy election issues like who gets campaign funding, preventing voter fraud and determining what constitutes fair play in the rock’em sock’em world of Israel’s political propaganda wars.

For example, it was Judge Jubran who decided to halt funding for Sunday night’s right-wing rally in Tel-Aviv.

Now, what kind of democracy gives a minority Christian Arab authority to prevent government support for an all Jewish, settlement-supporting political party? Only in Israel.

As an Apartheid State, Israel Really Stinks

This Judge Jubran chosen to ensure the Jewish state’s democratic process ran smoothly and according to protocol is the same Supreme Court justice who has publicly refused to sing Hatikva, Israel’s national anthem.

In fact, Judge Jubran refrained from singing the anthem at his own swearing-in ceremony for the Supreme Court. He was castigated by many for doing so, but the Arab judge stood his ground and was supported by fellow justice Elyakim Rubinstein, who wrote that non-Jewish citizens should not feel obligated to sing words that do not speak to their hearts.

Eventually, even Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu surprised many by stating that he did not expect an Arab-Israeli to sing the national anthem, especially since it includes the words "a Jewish soul yearns."

Unlike Any Other Apartheid Nation

Jubran’s trials (forgive the pun) didn’t end there. In 2012, the Knesset’s Law and Justice Committee demanded he be dismissed. In an effort to oust the Arab Christian justice, committee chairman MK Michael Ben-Ari submitted a bill aimed at barring anyone who had not served in the IDF from being appointed to the Supreme Court.

[This is the same MK Ben-Ari who was caught on camera tearing up and trashing copies of the New Testament that has been sent to all 120 members of Knesset by Messianic Jewish leader Victor Kalisher of the Bible Society of Israel.]

But Israel would have none of Ben-Ari’s antics. The government, media, courts and people on the streets - Jews and Arabs - fought to keep Justice Jubran on the Supreme Court.

Then, in a move which should shake the hell out of Israel-haters everywhere, it is old Justice Jubran, an Arab Christian born in 1947 in Haifa who finished his graduate studies in law at Hebrew University in 1968, who was entrusted with overseeing Israel’s crucial national elections.

Many saw these elections as critical to the future of the Jewish nation, and nevertheless had little problem with putting their proceedings in the hands of an Arab Christian who has never served in the Israeli army, does not fast on Yom Kippur and will not sing our national anthem.

There is no place like Israel. I love this country!

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