Congrats: Two Female Lawyers Appointed as Israel's First Ethiopian Judges
Adenko Sebhat-Haimovich will serve on the Magistrates' Court and Esther Tapeta Gardi will sit on the Traffic Court bench • Legal community, advocates hail appointments as step forward for Ethiopian community • Mother of murdered teen appointed a judge.
In a historic first, two female lawyers were appointed as Israel's first Ethiopian judges on Thursday, as the Judicial Nominating Committee has named Adenko Sebhat-Haimovich to the magistrates' court, and Esther Tapeta Gardi to the traffic court.
The committee announced a total of 26 judicial appointments, 13 of which were of judges who were promoted to a higher bench and 13 were attorneys who were named judges for the first time.
One of the new judges appointed Thursday was Miriam Banki, mother of the late Shira Banki, who was murdered at the Gay Pride Parade in Jerusalem in 2015.
Judicial Nominating Committee Chairwoman Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked welcomed the new appointees, saying she was certain that "the judges who have been appointed would issue just rulings."
Shaked said she also saw the appointment of two women from the Ethiopian community as judges a fulfillment of late President Shimon Peres' wishes. Peres was prime minister at the time of Operation Moses, which brought Ethiopian Jewry to Israel in 1984.
Attorney and former MK Pnina Tamano-Shata spent years working to promote the appointment of Ethiopian-Israeli judges. She called the historic appointments "an important step for the legal system, which belongs to everyone regardless of religion, color or gender. This is an exciting moment, and I have no doubt that the two new judges are a source of pride and a contribution to Israeli society as a whole.
"We need to thank the Israel Bar Association, which lent its backing to the appointments, and also to the justice minister and MKs. But in the end, the candidates were appointed based on their legal talents and achievements, and weren't 'given' anything -- just like the rest of the appointees," Tamano-Shata said.
Israel Bar Association Chairman Efi Nave said that "the IBA representatives on the Judges Appointment Committee supported the appointment of [these] judges" and that the IBA under his leadership "saw great importance in the integration and representation of all sectors of the population in the legal system."
MK Revital Swid (Zionist Union) said she welcomed the new appointments, adding that "there are 750 judges serving in the legal system. The fact that three decades since the Ethiopian aliyah no judges from [that] community have been appointed is a defect."
Fentahun Assefa-Dawit, executive director of the Tebeka advocacy group for justice and equality for Ethiopian Israelis, said that "this is an important, historic step."