Israel just appointed the first female religious court judge (or Qadi) in Israel’s Sharia courts, and both Arab and Jewish leaders are said to be celebrating the important achievement. Hana Mansour-Khatib is a mother of four with a background in family law and a specialty in Islamic law. She and her husband, Fouad, ran a law firm in Northern Israel, and have won many local awards and recognition in their field.
“It’s not only a personal achievement,” says Ms. Mansour-Khatib. “It’s ours, for Arab women and Muslim women in Israel who are seeking the best rights they can get from the religious courts.”
According to PRI, “Jewish, Muslim, Christian and Druze religious courts in the region date back to the Ottoman Empire and operated throughout Britain’s mandate control of Palestine. Today, rabbinical courts in Israel oversee marriage, divorce and other personal status issues for Jews, as do the Sharia courts for Israel’s Muslim Arab citizens, who comprise about 17 percent of Israel’s population.”
Ms. Mansour-Khatib says she hopes to make a positive difference, especially in the lives of women. “When a woman stands in front of a woman judge, she can express herself,” she says.