Israel appoints country’s first female sharia judge

Hana Khatib, who became the first female judge in Israel's Muslim sharia court system on April 25, 2017. (AFP)
Updated 25 April 2017
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Israel appoints country’s first female sharia judge

JERUSALEM: Israel appointed its first female judge in its Muslim sharia court system on Tuesday, officials said, a move hailed as historic.
Hana Khatib, an attorney from the northern town of Tamra, was selected by an Israeli justice committee alongside three men to become a religious judge, or qadi, in the courts ruling on personal law for Muslims inside Israel.
Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, from the far-right Jewish Home party and head of the committee that selected Khatib, said the appointment of a female religious judge “should have happened a long time ago.”
“This is great news for Arab women and the Arab society,” she said in a statement.
“I’m excited over the choice, and hope this is the bellwether for further appointments of women.”
Aida Touma-Sliman, a female Arab lawmaker from the Joint List coalition, called Khatib’s appointment “a historic move” that was the result of a long legal struggle, adding it would benefit all Arabs in Israel.
“It’s time to believe in the power of Arab women in filling any role, making decisions and being in positions of influence in society and state, and removing the obstacles from the way,” she said in a statement.
In Israel, family law — divorce, marriage, endowments — falls under the jurisdiction of religious courts, and separate systems exist for the country’s different creeds.
Khatib is the first woman not only for the Muslim sharia courts but for all the religious courts in Israel, as no women serve as judges in the Jewish or Druze courts.
There are not many women qadis around the world. Two women serve as sharia judges in the neighboring Palestinian Authority.
Khatib will be sworn in by Israeli President Reuven Rivlin in a few weeks.
There are nine regional sharia courts in Israel as well as an appeal courts, with today’s appointments bringing the number of qadis in the Muslim system to 18.


Gulf Arab states should be party to proposed Iran treaty talks - UAE official

Updated 41 min 31 sec ago
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Gulf Arab states should be party to proposed Iran treaty talks - UAE official

CAIRO: Washington’s Gulf Arab allies should be included in proposed treaty negotiations with Iran over its ballistic missile program and regional behavior, a senior Emiriati official said on Thursday.
Brian Hook, US special envoy for Iran, said on Wednesday the United States is seeking to negotiate a treaty with Iran to include Tehran’s ballistic missiles and its regional behavior.
Iran has rejected US attempts to hold high-level talks since President Donald Trump tore up a nuclear deal between Tehran and six world powers earlier this year.
Anwar Gargash, United Arab Emirates Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, described Hook’s comments as “important.”
“It is essential that the Gulf Arab states be a party to the proposed negotiations. It is prudent for Tehran to avoid sanctions and to take these proposals seriously,” he tweeted.
The UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain swiftly backed Trump’s decision in May to withdraw from the nuclear accord and reimpose sanctions on Tehran.
The Gulf Arab states were not party to the nuclear accord, and while they were consulted by Western powers during the talks that led up to it, they played no direct role in those negotiations.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo listed a dozen demands in May that he said could make up a new agreement, although Hook referred to a treaty, which would have to be approved by the US Senate.