Judge Throws Out Israeli Legal Figure’s Libel Suit Against Haaretz

Plaintiff ordered to pay $17,800 for legal expenses.

An empty court room in Tel Aviv.
Ilan Assayag

The Herzliya Magistrate’s Court ruled Sunday against a former senior legal figure who filed a libel lawsuit against Haaretz, and ordered him to pay the newspaper 70,000 shekels (about $17,800) for legal expenses. In 2009, Haaretz published two stories about mutual complaints filed by the person’s daughter, who is a lawyer, and her husband at the time, who is a police officer and a police prosecutor.

The judge ruled that Haaretz printed the truth, and ruled in the newspaper’s favor. The libel suit asked for over 500,000 shekels in compensation.

The plaintiffs tried to have the court impose a total gag order on the ruling and postpone any publication until their appeal is heard. The judge ruled on Sunday that the decision can be published, though with limitations to protect the identities of those involved.

The couple decided to separate in 2009, and the man asked his wife to repay a 80,000-shekel loan he gave her. Later he filed a complaint with the police, saying his wife threatened him and demanded a large sum of money not to file a complaint against him.