Israel Appoints Female Supreme Court President

Justice Dorit Beinisch replaces outgoing president Justice Aharon Barak

In a historic step for women, on September 7, 2006 the Supreme Court of Israel welcomed Justice Dorit Beinisch as its new President, a role equivalent in importance to that of Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Justice Beinisch is one of the first women to serve as Chief Justice of the highest court of any modern democracy.

Justice Beinisch joins Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni as one of the world's most influential women. Long admired as an advocate for human rights, equality and the rule of law, Justice Beinisch has issued and participated in seminal decisions upholding the rights of children, women and minorities including the 20% of Israeli citizens who are Arab as well as even the rights of non-Israelis affected by Israeli government action. (Please contact us if you'd like a book containing some of these important decisions.)

As Supreme Court President, Justice Beinisch will work to continue that legacy, one that she forged with her mentor, outgoing Israeli Supreme Court President Aharon Barak, an Israeli giant in the world of law and human rights.

Sagit Kaufman, an Israeli attorney in Chicago, notes that Justice Beinisch's appointment is very important for the future of women in the legal sector in Israel. "There is no doubt in my mind that a female serving as a Chief Justice will strengthen position of women in general and in the legal profession in particular," said Kaufman. "In various past interviews, Judge Beinisch was quoted as saying that during her career she learned that as a woman it was not enough just to do a good job in order to be promoted. Being a woman required extra effort in order to prove herself. Today, Judge Beinisch supports 'affirmative action' with regard to women and acts as a role model to women in Israel and around the world."

President Beinisch has had a long and eminent career in public service. She served in the Israeli Defense Forces, rising to the rank of lieutenant. She received her law degree from The Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and became a member of the Israeli bar in 1967. She began her career in the Jerusalem District Attorney's Office, later moving to the Israeli Attorney General's office, where she served as Assistant Attorney General from 1982 to 1988 before being appointed Attorney General in 1989. In 1995 she was appointed to the Supreme Court.

The Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs contains an official biography of President Beinisch. More information on the Supreme Court of Israel can be on their website at www.court.gov.il /eng/

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