Israel's Attorney General Seeks Court Order to Stop Slander of Netanyahu Prosecutor's Son

Likud activist has been harassing Deputy State Prosecutor Liat Ben Ari by publicly accusing her son of having assaulted a police officer, which authorities have stated is false

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Prosecutor in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s corruption cases Liat Ben Ari at the Jerusalem District Court, July 2020.
Prosecutor in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s corruption cases Liat Ben Ari at the Jerusalem District Court, July 2020.Credit: Mark Israel Salem

Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit requested Thursday that the Ramle Magistrate’s Court issue an order banning Likud activist from falsely claiming that the son of a prosecutor in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s corruption cases attacked a police officer.

Mendelblit said that the activist, Orly Lev, continued to make the claim even after the Justice Ministry clarified that it was not Deputy State Prosecutor Liat Ben Ari’s son who carried out the assault.

Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit at the Knesset, May 2020.
Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit at the Knesset, May 2020.Credit: Alex Kolomoisky

Judge Hisham Abou Shehadeh granted Mendelblit’s request for a temporary restraining order and scheduled a hearing on the case for next week.

Lev recently shared a video that claims Ben Ari’s son assaulted an officer during a protest against the prosecutor outside of her home. Mendelblit requested that the court force Lev to stop posting the video and delete all of her recent posts on the matter. Until next week’s hearing, Abou Shehadeh forbade Lev from disseminating the video or referring to it on social media and in interviews.

In his request, Mendelblit wrote “Over the past few years, there has been a growing need for an integrated response on behalf of the country’s law enforcement agencies, in the various aspects of the phenomenon of harming civil servants, with the clear goal of discouraging civil servants, intimidating them, and deterring them from fulfilling their public duties.”

According to the request, “The state sees its obligation to protect civil servants, their wellbeing and peace of mind and that of their families as well as their reputation.” Mendelblit noted that he only made the request for the court to intervene after no alternative tool could be found “to stop the harassment.”

Mendelblit will be represented by attorney Nir Genchersky from the prosecution in the hearing. Genchersky stated that “The posts are intended to harass the victim [Ben Ari], to exhaust her emotionally, to intimidate her, and to drag other people in from the public who will also be encouraged to harass the victim and her peace of mind.” He added that Lev “gave herself the task of harming the victim, harassing and intimidating her, and this is only because the victim is the prosecutor representing the state in a case in which there is an indictment against the prime minister and others.”  
   
Last week, a northern Israeli man was indicted for sending threatening messages to Ben Ari’s son because he believed he attacked a police officer. The suspect said he was influenced by videos on social networks and the claims against the prosecutor’s son. According to Mendelblit’s request, “An indictment does not stop the witch hunt taking place on the internet, among other places, following the cycle of posts [uploaded by Lev].”

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