The first openly gay judge has been appointed in Israel.

Dori Spivak, an attorney and former Civil Rights Association chairman, was appointed as a judge at the Tel Aviv Labor Court on Friday.

He is the deputy director of the Tel Aviv University’s law clinics and a longtime gay rights activist.

Mr Spivak has not commented on his new job but friends and fellow activists praised his appointment.

Friend Dan Yakir of the Association for Civil Rights Israel said he was an “excellent choice”.

Mr Spivak’s partner and colleague at the university, Dr Yishai Blank, told YNET: “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.”