Supreme Court Issues Decision on Fair Representation for Arab Citizens on Municipal Merger Committees Case


Yesterday, 26 May 2003, the Supreme Court of Israel issued a decision on a petition filed by Adalah earlier this month against the Interior Minister demanding fair representation for Arab citizens of Israel on regional hearing committees established to consider public responses to the government's municipal merger legislation. At the time of the filing of the petition, there were 37 members in total on these committees, with only one Arab member.

In response to the petition, the State declared that it would add four more Arab members to the hearing committees dealing with the proposed mergers of Arab municipalities. Adalah informed the Court that although five Arab members are not a sufficient number to ensure fair representation on the committees, pursuant to these new developments, Adalah would withdraw the petition.

Supreme Court Justice Dalia Dorner, writing for the Court, stated that, "It seems to us that under the circumstances of this case ... the inclusion of Arab citizens in the public committees discussing the merger of Arab regional municipalities was appropriate." The Court also ordered the state to pay NIS 7,500 in legal expenses.

The petition was submitted by Adalah Attorney Suhad Bishara on behalf of the National Committee of Arab Mayors and Adalah.

See Adalah News Update, "Adalah Demands Fair Representation for Arab Citizens on Municipal Merger Committees," 6 May 2003.