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(Photo from YNET News)
Israel's first openly gay judge appointed

in ISRAEL, 20/02/2011

Attorney Dori Spivak, former Civil Rights Association chairman, appointed TA Labor Court judge. 'Appointment had nothing to do with sexual preferences, he deserves it,' his partner says

Attorney Dori Spivak was appointed on Friday as a judge in the Tel Aviv Labor Court. He is the first openly gay judge appointed in Israel.

Spivak, the deputy director of the Tel Aviv University's law clinics, is a veteran activist for gay rights. He is also the former chairman of the Association for Civil Rights Israel (ACRI) and legal advisor to the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) community.

Dan Yakir, an attorney for the ACRI, congratulated Spivak on Sunday on his appointment. He told Ynet: "As a personal friend and a partner in the civil rights struggle I can say this is an excellent choice. Dori is an expert on equality at work and health rights. He will contribute to developing human rights at the work place."

Many other gay activists and academics praised Spivak's nomination, describing it as "a ray of sunshine, especially at a dark time like today where human rights organizations are under attack." They expressed their hope that this appointment will be a sign of social change, particularly within the justice system.

"He is an experienced legalist when it comes to human rights and labor laws," Spivak's colleague, Professor Eyal Gross from the Tel Aviv University said.

'A social cause'

Another academic colleague at the University is Spivak's partner Dr. Yishai Blank. "I don't think sexual preferences had anything to do with this appointment. It's a happy occasion for us personally and also for the State. I'm not objective, of course, but I believe he is deserving in light of his skills, capabilities and his commitment to justice and the law."

Blank added that "many lawyers see judicial appointments as the pinnacle of their career, and I think they should understand that conducting a fair trial is both an endowment and a social cause. Dori hasn't always thought about this position, but it's something that's very hard not to be drawn to considering he sees it as his mission and destiny."

*Aviel Magnezi contributed to the report

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