Israel Supreme Court Rejects Plagiarism Charge Against Novelist Naomi Ragen

Legal battle win comes just a month after prominent American-Israeli losses seperate plagarism suit filed by author Sarah Shapiro.

Maya Sela
Maya Sela
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Bestselling American-Israeli author Naomi Ragen did not plagiarize or infringe on the copyright of the late writer Michal Tal, the Supreme Court ruled this week.

The court's opinion had been sought by the American-born Ragen after the Jerusalem District Court threw out the 2007 complaint, filed by Tal before her death, and the lack of interest on the part of Tal's heirs to pursue the matter. The district court did not rule on the merits of Tal's claim.

Naomi Ragen.Credit: Daniel Bar-On

Tal filed a suit claiming that Ragen had used material from a book Tal wrote called "The Lion and the Cross" in Ragen's 1998 bestseller "The Ghost of Hannah Mendes." The suit was dismissed in 2010 after Tal's death, however her heirs consented to have the Supreme Court weigh in on the matter.

Ragen's victory in the Supreme Court follows her loss last month in an unrelated plagiarism case after four years of litigation in which author Sarah Shapiro was awarded a judgment against Ragen for knowingly plagiarizing from Shapiro's work for her book "Sotah."

In this week's ruling, the Supreme Court ruled there was no basis whatsoever for Tal's complaint, but the panel of justices, headed by Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch, did say the lawsuit had been filed in good faith "and in genuine and candid faith at the time in the justice [of her claims]."

The lawyers for Tal's family, Niv Sofer and Michal Harlap, said the Supreme Court ruling did not constitute a full appeal.

Reacting to this week's verdict, Ragen said although Tal's claims were baseless, the lawsuit inflicted years of suffering, calling it a horrible experience for her and her family.

She also expressed the belief that in the end she would also be vindicated in the case filed by Sarah Shapiro.