Robert Ilatov
Robert Ilatov Yisrael Beytenu

High Court Judge Salim Joubran's 2012 “stunt” of refusing to join in the singing of Hatikvah will never happen again, if MK Robert Ilatov (Yisrael Beytenu) has his way.

Ilatov, the newest member of the Knesset's Judicial Selection Committee said Thursday that he would never approve the appointment of a judge who refused to sing Israel's national anthem, whatever his or her background.

“A judge who cannot sing Hatikvah cannot rule on cases in Israel,” Ilatov said in an interview with Army Radio.

“I will not allow the appointment of anyone as judge who does not believe in the concept of Israel as the national home of the Jewish people,” a sentiment expressed clearly in Hatikvah, he said, adding that “we will examine all candidates for their background and beliefs, as well as their capabilities and accomplishments. I intend to make an in-depth study of the appointment process.”

In 2012, when High Court President Asher Grunis was sworn in, all those in attendance at the swearing-in ceremony stood up and sang Hatikvah together.

Arab-Israeli judge Salim Joubran, however, chose not to participate in the singing. According to Joubran, the matter is a “very sensitive” one for him.

He elaborated on this in a 2014 speech, in which he said Israel was a racist society.

“I could talk about equality and fairness for many hours, but instead I will quote the Declaration of Independence,” he said. “You be the judge. The Declaration spoke about equality, but unfortunately we do not see equality in society. According to the Or Commission on equality in society, Arab citizens of Israel live in a different reality from Jews and are discriminated against.”

According to Joubran, there is discrimination against Arabs in all levels of Israeli society, including education, employment, and land allocation. Speaking to a group of lawyers in Eilat, Wednesday, he said that there were many signs of this in Israeli society.

“There are fewer industrial zones near Arab towns, meaning there are fewer jobs for Arabs. And even in the road signs in Arabic there are a lot of mistakes,” he said.

Racism is certainly wrong and must be dealt with appropriately, said Ilatov, but that was irrelevant to the issue of Israel as a homeland for the Jewish people – and anyone who did not accept that principle had no place on the High Court of the Jewish State, he said.

“We want a clean and incorruptible appointment process,” he added. “I will consult with experts on this matter, and of course with party leader Avigdor Liberman.”