Arab judge's stay on Supreme Court not renewed
By Joseph Algazy, Ha'aretz Correspondent
The temporary appointment of Judge Abd al-Rahman Zouabi to the Supreme Court will not be renewed and he will finish his term in April. Judge Zouabi was the only Arab on the Supreme Court, where he began presiding on March 3, 1999.
The vacated seat on the Supreme Court will be filled by Jerusalem District Judge Ayala Procaccia, also as a temporary appointment.
Justice Minister Yossi Beilin, who confirmed the information last night, described Judge Zouabi as "one of the most important and experienced judges in Israel, who at the end of his temporary stay on the Supreme Court will now be reappointed deputy president of the Nazareth District Court."
The report that Zouabi's appointment will not be renewed shocked the Israeli-Arab sector yesterday, and appears prominently on today's front pages of local Arab newspapers.
"In principle, I am against the appointment of judges on the basis of demographic sectors. But the fact is that once Zouabi's term ends, the state of Israel is returning to the situation which was in place for 51 years, in which there was no Arab justice on the Supreme Court, which tells you something," MK Issam Mahoul (Hadash) said yesterday.
Judge Zouabi, 67, was born in the village of Sulam near Afula to a Muslim family of farmers. He graduated from Tel Aviv University's law school at the age of 21 and worked as a private lawyer for 21 years before being appointed judge.