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Noah Klieger Photo: Avigail Uzi
Noah Klieger Photo: Avigail Uzi

Arab judge, Jewish words

Op-ed: Justice Joubran is a fine Israeli who should not be asked to sing 'Jewish' national anthem

Noah Klieger
Published: 03.01.12, 18:17 / Israel Opinion

I just cannot understand the major assault on Supreme Court Justice Salim Joubran, who refrained from singing our national anthem, HaTikva, in an official ceremony at the courthouse earlier this week.


What do they want from him? After all, he is not Jewish, and the thing about our anthem is that its words are “blatantly Jewish.”


How can an Arab Israeli, regardless of whether he is Muslim or Christian, sing about a “Jewish soul?” After all, Naftali Herz Imber wrote the words of our national anthem many years before the State of Israel’s inception as an anthem for the Zionist movement.


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After all, our anthem is a song that expresses the longing and desire of the Jewish people to return to Zion.


Anthem belongs to Jews

Indeed, the Jewish people indeed returned to Zion and to Jerusalem. And indeed, a new Jewish state was established – Israel. Yet this state is home to non-Jews as well, including all kinds of Muslims and Christians, and our anthem is just not their anthem.


These people are for the most part fine Israeli citizens, yet we should not demand that they sing words that belong to Jews alone.


The French and the British, for example, do not face this problem. Any British or French citizen – regardless of whether he is Muslim, Buddhist, Christian or Jewish – can utter the words “God Save the Queen” without a problem, because these words are suitable for everyone.


Justice Salim Joubran, a Christina Maronite, is an Israeli in every way. He is a man who pursued an honest path, using hard work and talent, all the way to his country’s Supreme Court. However, he cannot and should not have to sing our national anthem, HaTikva.



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