Esther Tapeta Gardi (L) and Adenko Sebhat – Haimovich (R).
(photo credit: YOSSI ZAMIR/FLASH90)
Both on a professional and gender level, Adenko Sebhat-Haimovich and Esther Tapeta Gardi are breaking glass ceilings and are trailblazers in Israel’s Ethiopian community. They are the first members of their community to be appointed to the bench and they are the first female members of their community to be elevated to the role of judge.
In September 2016, they were included in the list of new judges approved by the Judicial Nominating Committee headed by Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked and in December they were officially appointed by President Reuven Rivlin at an appointments ceremony, which for the first time included a large representation of Ethiopians among the family members invited to such ceremonies. Shaked said then that she was interested in advancing women and members of minority sectors of the population within the legal system.
[In the image, Adenko Sebhat-Haimovich to the right and Esther Tapeta Gardi to the left].
HAIMOVICH SERVES in the Central District Magistrates Court and Gardi in the Haifa District Traffic Court.
Both women have broad and varied experience in their legal studies and in the legal work they have done prior to their present roles.
Haimovich, after graduating from Rene Cassin High School in Jerusalem, deferred her army service until she finished her first degree in law at Tel Aviv University. After completing her army service, she returned to TAU to study for her second degree in law. She also spent part of the time in her law studies at Northwestern University in Chicago.
During a six-year stint in the Israel Defense Forces, she served in the division of the IDF military advocate general, during which time she was accepted to the bar, after which she served as a legal counsel and defense attorney in the IDF.
She subsequently served for a year as a lawyer with the National Insurance Institute after which she spent eight years in private practice. She has now spent nine months as a judge.
GARDI WENT to high school at the religious ulpanit in Hadera and after graduating, spent two years in civilian national service. She earned her first degree in law at the University of Haifa and continued her studies at Bar Ilan University, where she earned her second degree.
While studying for her master’s degree, she interned at the state attorney’s office, and in 2008 was accepted to the bar, after which she worked as a lawyer for Tabeka, which advocates for Justice and Equality for Ethiopian Jews and operates legal aid bureaus as well as a center for children’s rights. Tabeka deals with more than 1,000 cases each year.
Gardi subsequently worked as a legal assistant in the labor court and in the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court, and has now been a traffic court judge for nine months.
The two appointments were hailed not only by prominent figures in the Ethiopian community, but also by heads of various organizations within Israel’s legal system who believe that recognition of the professional abilities of these two women will spur both male and female Israelis of Ethiopian background to aim higher and to realize their potential.