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First female judge appointed to Sharia court
Life in Israel
First female judge appointed to Sharia court

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked installed the first ever female judge, or qadi, for Israel’s Sharia court system on Monday in Jerusalem, along with three other regional qadis.

“This is testament to the positive changes in the status of women,” said Rivlin, as he praised Hana Mansour Khatib, a lawyer from the Galilee of town of Tamra who previously specialised in family and Sharia law. “This is testament to the inescapable understanding that it is our duty to ensure that half of the world’s population has an equal part in determining and implementing policies and laws in all spheres of life. Today, I will allow myself to express the hope that the appointment of the first female religious judge will be the first of many, not just in the Muslim community.”

Rivlin noted that the government had hoped to install female qadis last year, but that it had not been possible. All qadis must pass a rigorous written exam and a selection process from the Justice Ministry’s Committee to Elect Sharia Judges.

For the first time this year, three women were nominated to serve as qadis, but Khatib was the only one appointed. The nine-member committee unanimously appointed Khatib on April 25, 2017.

Her appointment was controversial both in hardline Jewish and Muslim circles. Days after the appointment, Muslim clerics, led by deputy head of the outlawed Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, Sheikh Kamal Khatib, slammed Shaked and warned her “not to intervene in matters of Islam.” 

Shaked noted on Monday that there are already female qadis for Sharia Courts in Indonesia, Malaysia, Jordan, and Egypt and the Palestinian Authority.

“We are shattering another glass ceiling,” Shaked told the audience of family members, lawyers, and supporters of the new qadis. “From the presidential residence in Jerusalem, a city for three religions, we are sending a message to girls everywhere: go, invest, study, and excel. The sky is the limit for you, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.”

In both the rabbinical courts and Sharia courts, women can serve as lawyers, or “toanot” (legal petitioners). But women cannot serve as judges in the rabbinical courts.

 Click here to read the full article in Times of Israel


Friday, May 19, 2017
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