Photo: Motti Kimchi
Netanyahu couple in court
Photo: Motti Kimchi

Journalist ordered to pay Netanyahu couple NIS 100,000 in libel suit

Prime minister and his wife sued Igal Sarna for Facebook post claiming Mrs. Netanyahu stopped the PM's convoy on Highway 1 because she didn't want to be in the same car as her husband.

Journalist Igal Sarna was ordered by the court on Sunday to pay Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara NIS 100,000 ($28,000) after having lost a libel suit.



The Netanyahu couple sued Sarna over a Facebook post in which he claimed the prime minister's convoy stopped on Highway 1 because Sara Netanyahu did not want to stay in the same car as the prime minister.


The couple claimed the incident never occurred and demanded NIS 279,000 ($79,000) in damages. They also claimed Sarna did not approach them for a comment before publishing and that this was a violation of their privacy.


The Netanyahu couple and Sarna (Photos: AFP, EPA) (Photos: EPA, AFP)
The Netanyahu couple and Sarna (Photos: AFP, EPA)


Sarna, meanwhile, claimed the suit was meant to silence and financially hurt him.


Explaining his decision, Judge Azaria Alcalay wrote that "Because (the prime minister) is a high-level public figure, attributing such an incident to him is offensive, insulting and embarrassing and creates the image of a weak, insecure man who is controlled by his wife."


Mrs. Netanyahu, the judge wrote, is portrayed by the report as one who "has no regard to the security establishment by allegedly stopping the prime minister's convoy because of her whims."


The judge noted that while "this report was not proven as truth to me," it does not constitute "the highest level of defamation."


Netanyahu and his wide welcomed the ruling, saying "Justice has finally been served."


In March, Netanyahu and his wife testified in the case in court, with the prime minister saying "Sarna decided an incident had occurred that never happened. Everything he said was a lie."


Mrs. Netanyahu said in her testimony, "The report is far from the truth, and I am looking for justice."


Sarna, meanwhile, stood by his report, saying "I'm sure it happened, more so now than I did then."


פרסום ראשון: 06.11.17, 09:41
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