First Arab Named To Israeli Supreme Court
Abdel Rahman Zuabi took his seat on March 3, 1999, as the first Arab to sit on the Supreme Court. Zuabi was Deputy President of the Nazareth District Court Zuabi was elevated to the post by Justice Minister Tzahi Hanegbi, who on March 2 said that "[Zuabi's] appointment highlights the successful integration of the Arab community into the life of the state."
Zuabi was a member of the judicial committee of inquiry, headed by Supreme Court President Meir Shamgar, which investigated the 1994 Tomb of the Patriarchs massacre. He was also responsible for several rulings which were upheld by the Supreme Court. Zuabi established the exclusive right of the Muslim sha'ariya courts to fix alimony payments as well as ruling that testimony given by a witness to an investigator is valid, even if the witness refused to repeat the testimony in court.
The 66-year-old Justice was given a nine-month appointment.
In May 2004, Salim Jubran was selected as the first Arab to hold a permanent appointment as a Supreme Court Justice.
He received a bachelor's degree in law from Hebrew University and went into private practice as a lawyer in 1970, and continued in this position for 12 years, before moving over to the other side of the bench. At 35, he was appointed a Haifa Magistrate's Court judge; and in 1993, he was promoted to the city's district court, where he served for 10 years before his temporary appointment to the Supreme Court bench.
Jubran's expertise lies in the field of criminal law, and he is known for his tough stand on sex and drug-related crimes.
Source: Jerusalem Post, (March 3, 1999); Haaretz, (May 7, 2004)