Israeli Culture Minister, Man Who Called Her a 'Whore' on Facebook to Drop Dueling Lawsuits

Man to apologize to Miri Regev, who will condemn threats against him, which began after she published his name and address.

MK Miri Regev, December 2, 2014.
Emil Salman

A compromise is in the offing in the dueling lawsuits between Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev and a man who called her a whore on his Facebook page some 18 months ago. At a hearing yesterday before the Haifa Magistrate’s Court, the judge suggested that the man, Gili Golan, post an apology to the minister on his Facebook page, and Regev post a condemnation of the threats that have been made against Golan since his suit against her.

No financial compensation will be awarded, according to the compromise.

Haaretz has learned that the parties are expected to agree to the compromise, which would mean that Regev had withdrawn her demand of 330,000 shekels ($84,760) in compensation. A similar compromise was broached at a hearing of the case last year, but Regev refused at the time to retreat from her demand for monetary compensation.

In August 2014, Regev, then an MK, reported Golan’s Facebook post to the officer in charge of security at the Knesset. A police complaint was filed and Golan was summoned for questioning on suspicion of insulting a public servant. However, the case was closed on instructions of the State Prosecutor’s Office under the clause of lack of culpability.

Regev then launched a civil suit against Golan, claiming that he had slandered her.

Golan countersued, asking the same monetary compensation that Regev was seeking. He said he had been threatened since the minister had made his name and address public.

Judge Nasreen Adawi rejected Regev’s claim of parliamentary immunity and allowed Golan’s countersuit to go forward.

Golan’s attorneys, Oron Schwartz, Yogev Narkiss and Dorit Beller De-Beer said the verdict was “a victory for free speech and civil liberties,” adding that “Golan had asked to apologize at the beginning of the process, and it is proper to do so at the end as well, as long as the demand for monetary compensation threatening freedom of expression is also lifted.”

Attorney Yaniv Lankri, representing Regev, said his client would study the court’s compromise and convey her response through her lawyers. Lankri said that beyond the personal aspect, the legal proceedings were “a public mission by the minster, at the heart of which was the conveying of a message that there are legal consequences to insufferable defamation of elected officials.”