The Supreme Court on Wednesday accepted the appeal of casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and Israel Hayom editor-in-chief Amos Regev, and returned Channel 10 News’ petition to publicize the dates of phone calls between Adelson, Regev and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the District Court.
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The grounds were mainly technical. Adelson and Regev had not been added as parties to the procedure and their position had not been heard before the District Court’s ruling.
Channel 10 News and journalist Raviv Drucker sued Israel Hayom to expose the dates of phone conversations between Netanyahu and Regev and Adelson under the freedom of information act. The state argued that exposure would violate Netanyahu’s privacy. Its claim was rejected.
District Court Judge David Mintz accepted the petition without hearing Adelson and Regev, but ruled that before supplying the information, the freedom of information commissioner would have to hear Adelson’s and Regev’s positions.
Adelson and Regev claimed that the procedure was deficient because their positions should have been heard before the District Court ruled. Among other things, advocate Dori Klagsbald said that various factual claims might be raised before the District Court, such as the fact that Adelson does not even own Israel Hayom, but rather family members of his.
“In the court’s consideration of whether to order the delivery of information that could be to the detriment of Adelson and Regev, the proper path to follow would be to comply with Section 17(c) of the Freedom of Information Law and give both the opportunity to voice their claims in a manner determined by the court before a ruling is handed down. The court did not do so,” wrote Justice Miriam Naor in the Supreme Court ruling on Wednesday, adding, “under these circumstances, we saw no choice but to return to the proper path.”
The Supreme Court also ruled that Regev and Adelson could submit their pleas accompanied by statements to the court within 15 days as of the ruling.