Israel appoints first female Druze judge

Druze lawyer Sawsan al-Qasem will sit on the Haifa Regional Labor Court.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Israel’s Judicial Appointments Committee made history Thursday when it appointed the country’s very first female Druze judge, 49-year-old Sawsan al-Qasem, to oversee the Regional Labor Court in Haifa.

Al-Qasem, who lives in Tel Aviv, will move from her current position as senior deputy to the legal adviser of the National Insurance Institute, Ynet reported. Her credentials also include the establishment of the first Arab center for the treatment of sexual assault victims – the Al-Sawar Center.

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, who chairs the selection committee, has been strengthening minority representation in judgeships over the past year.

“The legal system today is more diverse and stronger with greater female power. After women’s representation from the ultra-Orthodox and Ethiopian sectors, we are now strengthening the system with a judge of the Druze community,” Ynet quoted Shaked as saying.

The two judges of Ethiopian background sit in the Central District Magistrates Court and the Haifa District Traffic Court, and the ultra-Orthodox woman referred to by Shaked oversees the Jerusalem Magistrates Court.

Other recent firsts for the female Druze community include Daliat al-Karmel native Sawsan Natur-Hasson, who was the first to enter Israel’s foreign service in 2011. She served in Bulgaria for four years and is now Israel’s deputy ambassador to Greece.

More recently, her fellow townswoman Ghadir Kamal Meriach began presenting the weekend news on TV’s Channel 1 in February 2017, after being the Arabic language newscaster for six years.