Tel Aviv District Court Judge Khaled Kabub told the Judicial Selection Committee on Sunday that he is withdrawing his candidacy for a seat on the Supreme Court.
The committee is due to meet Thursday to select two new judges.
Kabub told his close associates he felt the chances were low for another Arab judge to be appointed to the Supreme Court a year after the appointment of Justice George Kara. He explained that it is also difficult for him to withstand the tension involved in waiting for the committee's decision, and decided to withdraw in order to save himself and his family frustration and distress.
Kabub was proposed as a candidate for the Supreme Court by the head of the Israel Bar Association, and was also included in Chief Justice Esther Hayut's list of candidates.
However, since in recent years the Supreme Court has held that there is only one "Arab seat," from the outset, sources in the committee estimated that Kabub's chances to get elected chances were not high, especially since the head of the Judicial Selection Committee is Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, who is less keen on his nomination.
While widely considered an exemplary jurist, Shaked was not expected to back his appointment, as she'd be hard pressed to present the appointing of the first Arab Muslim justice to the Supreme Court to her electoral base as a victory.
Israel Bar Association President Efi Nave stated that "Judge Kabub was and still is the declared candidate of the Bar Association, and there is no doubt that his proven professional qualifications are not contested and he is worthy and suitable to be appointed as a Supreme Court justice.
"It is regrettable that we missed the opportunity to appoint him as another Arab judge in the Supreme Court, and I hope and believe that we will still be able to see the appointment of another Arab judge alongside Judge Kara."
With Kabub's withdrawal, only five judges remain in the race: Central District Court Judge Prof. Ofer Grosskopf, Tel Aviv District Court Judge Shaul Shohat, Tel Aviv District Court Judge Ruth Ronnen, Jerusalem District Court Judge Ram Winograd and Prof. Alex Stein—whose nomination is seen as controversial, as he currently resides in Brooklyn where he works as Professor of law.
Shaked Insists on his appointment on the grounds that Stein, a juristic "conservative," is a legal genius who is highly respected in the academic field and is closely familiar with Israeli law even though he does not live in Israel.