Supreme Court Judge Salim Joubran.
(photo credit: screenshot)
Thursday was the last day in court in an official capacity for Supreme Court Vice President Salim Joubran, who on Friday celebrates his 70th birthday, the mandatory retirement age for judges.
Joubran was a long-serving judge in the Haifa Magistrate’s Court and in 2003 became the first Arab to be appointed to the Supreme Court. He subsequently was the first Arab to chair the Central Elections Committee.
In his retirement speech, Joubran alluded to proposed legislation that would change the status of Arabic as a language in Israel.
He urged the state to maintain the tongue’s official status and ensure it is also taught in Jewish schools. He urged the state to cancel discriminatory policies toward Arab citizens, calling that goal an “existential need.”
Joubran had been scheduled to deliver his final rulings on two cases Thursday – on gay adoption and on surrogate motherhood.
The surrogate motherhood case involved two women who were unable to conceive, whose ova were frozen in the hope they could be implanted in surrogates. The court ruled that a surrogate mother must be genetically related to the woman whose eggs she bears.
Joubran did not get to hear the gay adoption case, as it was postponed for six months in order to give the Knesset the opportunity to finalize legislation on the subject.
In mid-July, in response to a petition to the High Court, the government said it was opposed to allowing same-sex couples adopt because it would place an added burden on the child. The decision was supported by Child Welfare Services, but sparked a storm of protest in the gay community, in which there are many families with same-sex parents.
The children in those families, though, are the biological offspring of one member of the same-sex couple. Still, such families do exist and the gay community has been vocal in rejecting the idea of an extra burden being placed on an adopted child in similar circumstances.