Daily Israel Report

Arab High Court Judge: What's Wrong with Arab Illegal Houses?

Judge Salim Joubran, when shown illegal homes: 'Whom does this hurt? They have a right to live well!'
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 7/20/2010, 8:28 PM / Last Update: 7/20/2010, 8:35 PM

Judge Salim Joubran, an Arab member of the Israeli Supreme Court, appeared to support illegal construction by Arabs Monday in the course of a hearing regarding unlawfully-built mansions.

The three-judge panel, which also included Judges Elyakim Rubinstein and Uzi Fogelman, had assembled to debate a motion by Regavim, an NGO which fights for Jewish land-owning rights. The motion specifically dealt with nine luxurious mansions without building permits built by Arabs at Deir Dibwan near Ofra, and near the former airport at Atarot.

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The State admitted in a previous court hearing that the mansions were illegally built. However, it had not taken action to tear them down. At the opening of Monday's hearing, the Prosecution announced that it had begun enforcement procedures for one of the nine structures.

A representative of Regavim showed the judges photographs of the illegal homes. Judge Joubran took a look at the pictures and said: “These are beautiful homes indeed. Whom does this bother? Whom does this hurt? They have a right to live well!”   

The two other judges reportedly seemed taken aback by the statement but chose to ignore it.

Joubran, a Maronite Christian, became the first Arab citizen of Israel to receive a permanent appointment to the Supreme Court in 2004.