Leonardo DiCaprio's girlfriend Bar Refaeli sues Israeli newspaper for libel
Israeli model's lawyers demand NIS 500,000 compensation from Yedioth Ahronoth, apology for misleading headline and 'false' quotes.
Israeli model Bar Refaeli, who sparked worldwide attention as the girlfriend of Leonardo DiCaprio, is suing Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth for libel, after it published an interview with her last week under the headline "Bar Refaeli versus the State of Israel."
Refaeli's lawyers sent a letter to the newspaper's editorial office demanding it apologize for the headline and compensate her for personal damages to the tune of half a million shekels (approximately $125,000).
In the interview, Refaeli was quoted as saying: "Why is it good to die for our country? Isn't it better to live in New York?" The interview received widespread Israeli and international attention, including in The Observer, the Sunday edition of the British newspaper The Guardian.
Refaeli was also quoted as saying, "What does it does matter, Uganda or Israel?" and, "I am not sorry for not serving in the army, because I profited in a big way." She also reportedly vowed that she would "never bring a celebrity to Israel because they have chutzpah here like nowhere else in the world."
A few days after its initial report, Yedioth published an article claiming "Now Bar is slandering Israel abroad" - a reference to an interview Refaeli gave to fashion magazine Tatler.
Refaeli's lawyer Dror Arad Alon sent a letter to Yedioth claiming that the newspaper published "false, tendentious and malicious quotes which lack connection to Refaeli's comments."
Arad-Alon went on to say in the letter that Refaeli's comments were disseminated throughout the media "representing Refaeli in a ludicrous and poisonous way, essentially abandoning her to public fury for no reason."
He added that the Yedioth article "initiated and encouraged a media and public lynching of Bar Refaeli after she was wickedly manipulated by the newspaper's reporter and editors."