Rubinstein: Arab Israelis don't have to sing Hatikva

Supreme Court justice speaks out in support of colleague Justice Salim Joubran, calls criticism "storm in a teacup."

March 1, 2012 12:38
1 minute read.
Israel's Supreme Court

Israeli Supreme Court 311. (photo credit: REUTERS/FILE)


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Supreme Court Justice Elyakim Rubinstein spoke out in support of his judicial colleague, Justice Salim Joubran, on Wednesday night, saying that the Arab- Israeli justice’s refusal to sing the national anthem was a personal decision that was justified.

Joubran faced harsh criticism for failing to sing the national anthem, “Hatikva,” at the ceremony to mark Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch’s retirement on Tuesday.

Rubinstein said the criticism of Joubran was “a storm in a teacup” and an “unjustified blow” to his colleague.

The Supreme Court justice said that Hatikva was “an anthem worthy of the State of Israel” and should not be replaced.

“It reflects the Jewish longing for Zion and to be a free nation in their own country,” Rubinstein said, adding that non-Jewish citizens of Israel must respect Hatikva and that non-Jewish army, police and prison service officers must salute while it is being sung.

“However, Arab citizens shouldn’t be required to sing words that do not speak to their hearts and which do not reflect their roots,” Rubinstein said.

Speaking at a conference on Jewish commitments to minorities at the Van Leer Institute in Jerusalem on Wednesday night, Rubinstein said that those Arab citizens who did choose to join in and sing Hatikva should be “blessed,” but that the decision to sing the anthem was a personal one.

Rubinstein added that he had worked with Joubran for close to eight years.

“I can attest to his integrity as a justice, and as a loyal citizen of the State of Israel, who represents our country abroad with dignity and success,” he said.

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