Jerusalem, Israel - May 15, 2017 - President Reuven Rivlin Monday afternoon addressed the swearing in ceremony at his residence for five new Qadis – Muslim religious court judges – including the first female Qadi, Hana Khatib, to be appointed in the Sharia courts in Israel. Also addressing the ceremony were Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, and President of the Sharia Court of Appeals, Qadi Abd Al-Hakim Samara. The event was attended by members of the selection committee, families of the new Qadis, and other senior figures from the Israeli Arab community.

President Rivlin began his address by turning to the newly appointed Qadis, and said, “I stand here as a representative of all those who will pass before you: men, women, and children. I am here to remind you that the Qadi, judge or arbitrator, is not just wise and knowledgeable about the law, religious or secular, but is one who first and foremost serves the public. The Sharia courts merit the trust and the appreciation of the Muslim community in Israel. Hearts and minds look to you in hope, faith, and prayer for you to act thoughtfully and with gentle spirit towards all who are judged by you.

 “You carry with you from today, the role of dealing with the human’s holiest of hollies; our homes. It enters you into the private lives of couples, and families, into the souls of men, women, and children. When you come to serve justice, remember also the traits of mercy and kindness. Remember that before you stand men and women who put nothing less than their lives in your hands."

The President spoke in relation to the appointment of the first female Qadi in the history of the Sharia courts in Israel. He said, “This is testament to the positive changes in the status of women. This is testament to the inescapable understanding that it is our duty to ensure that half of the world's population has an equal part in determining and implementing policies and laws in all spheres of life. Today, I will allow myself to express the hope that the appointment of the first female religious judge, will be the first of many, not just in the Muslim community.”

Justice Minister Shaked thanked the President, and the selection committee, and congratulated all the newly appointed Qadis. She said, “Today, we are shattering another glass ceiling, and removing another obstacle for women in Arab society, by appointing the first female Qadi, but I can say that it will certainly not be the last. From here, from the President’s Residence in Jerusalem, the city holy to the three religions, today holds an important message to Arab women, and to women in general: go, invest, study, and excel. The sky is the limit for you, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.”

Sharia Court of Appeals President Kadi Abd Al-Hakim Samara said, "The appointment of a female Qadi is indeed an historic appointment in every sense of the word, and by way of this appointment we prove to ourselves that Muslim law is based on the rules of humanity with no difference between race or gender. Today, Muslim women in the State of Israel are given by her people, once and for all, out of a right not out of kindness, equal status, despite the religious controversy that has arisen over this appointment, of which we are aware and respect."