Israel appoints first female ultra-orthodox judge

The Judicial Selection Committee breaks new ground in electing Chavi Toker as the first female judge from the ultra-Orthodox sector.

By: Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Chavi Toker, a senior deputy in the Jerusalem District Attorney’s Office, was elected Thursday as the first female justice from the ultra-Orthodox sector. She is to serve in the city’s Magistrate’s court.

Her selection was the fulfillment of a pledge made in January by Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, when she was asked about the promotion of ultra-Orthodox women in public offices. “I see it as a unique challenge to appoint an ultra-Orthodox judge, and I intend to do so at the next [Judicial Selection] committee,” Shaked replied – and she kept her promise.

President Reuven Rivlin called Toker’s election “a happy day for her and for all of Israel,” according to the haredi (ultra-Orthodox) Kikar Shabbat website. “I am convinced that she will bring to the judge’s chair the skill and knowledge that she acquired with great effort alongside the values ​​of Jewish law and Jewish tradition that she absorbed at her parents’ and in-laws’ homes,” Rivlin stated.

Toker, 41, is the daughter of Rabbi Rafael Volf of B’nei Brak, who was considered the right-hand man of Rabbi Menachem Shach, longtime leader of the haredi world until his death in 2001. She is married to a lawyer as well, the son of the late dean of the well-known ultra-Orthodox Hebron Yeshiva in the capital.

Politicians from both the coalition and opposition congratulated the new justice, Kikar Shabbat reported. Avi Gabbai, head of the Zionist Union, called her “a pioneer,” noting that “it is a blessing for all of us” when all the sectors of Israeli society are represented in the various systems of government.

Likud Member of Knesset Yehuda Glick summed up the appointment by saying, simply, “Chavi Toker is making history as the first ultra-Orthodox judge.”

This is true of Israel. In the United States, however, in 2016, Rachel Freier was sworn in as the first female haredi judge anywhere in the world. She oversees a civil court in Brooklyn, New York.

Toker and husband Yechezkel have four children, the oldest of whom recently enlisted into the IDF Givati Brigade’s haredi unit, Tomer.

The Israeli committee entrusted with the appointment of Qadis, magistrates at Muslim Shari’a religious courts, made history in April when it appointed the first female Qadi in history, Hennah Hatib.