National Anthem Controversy in Israel

A state ceremony was held at the president’s residence where Israel’s chief justice, Dorit Beinisch, was set to retire, and her successor was to be sworn in. The ceremony was televised, and at the conclusion of the ceremony all of the justice stood for the national anthem. All of them sung the anthem except for Salim Joubran, the only Arab justice serving the court. Joubran’s televised actions caused a huge uproar in the state.

Those who were offended by Joubran’s actions though that he should step down as justice and “find a state with a more appropriate anthem and move there.” Members of Parliament have even proposed a bill called the “Joubran Bill,” which would require any person who wanted to be on the Supreme Court to have performed military or national service. The idea behind the bill is that it would make Arabs ineligible for status as a Supreme Court justice.

Those who support Joubran’s actions believe that the lyrics to the anthem may need to be revised and they can understand why he did what he did. The lyrics of Israel’s anthem, “Hatikva,” deal with the “yearning of the Jewish soul” to be “a free nation in our land, the land of Zion and Jerusalem.” Supporters of Joubran believe that the lyrics of the anthem should be changed to include a sentiment that all Israelis will feel comfortable with.

Although Joubran’s colleagues have not made any official public statements they have said that they “saw no reason to change the anthem or to criticize Arabs who prefer to remain silent during it.” However, other feels that what he did exposes a major problem in Israel because Joubran is in a powerful position in the states highest court and is helping make important rulings that effect the entire state.

How would you feel if a United States Supreme Court Justice did not sing our national anthem? Do you think that Joubran should step down from his position? Do you think that they should change the lyrics of the anthem?

Source: The New York Times

One comment

  1. I could not imagine if a US Supreme Court Justice refused to sing the national anthem. But, if that happened, does that mean we should change the lyrics of the national anthem that we have sung proudly since 1931? Do US Supreme Court Justices have the right to remain silent during the anthem? The US encourages and guarantees through the 1st Amendment each citizen a right to choose their own religion and beliefs. But, how can individuals represent our country or legal system but not our anthem?

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