(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
A haredi (ultra-Orthodox) IDF officer who hired a private investigator to track down extremist haredi provocateurs behind a campaign of severe incitement against him has been awarded NIS 500,000 in damages.
Radical elements in the haredi community have, in the past few years, waged a vitriolic campaign of incitement and harassment against haredi officers involved in recruiting other haredim as conscripts, as well as against enlisted haredi soldiers.
The campaign has taken the form of posters, pamphlets and booklets, with cartoons and other images that incite readers against haredi officials involved in promoting IDF service. These publications routinely depict such people as pigs and they malign elements attempting to “corrupt” haredi youth.
In July 2015, extremists published a booklet called The Hunters containing the names, photos and contact details of the most senior haredi figures who promote enlistment, as part of efforts to harass and delegitimize them.
One of the names published was IDF officer Yehudah Glickman. He and his wife were the victims of ceaseless harassment by anonymous people who obtained their phone numbers from the booklet.
The Glickmans received phone calls from people who said they hoped the couple would die quickly, or warned them that they would face harsh justice in the afterlife for their deeds.
Several police investigations were opened regarding the incitement campaign, but progress was slow.
Glickman became frustrated with the lack of progress and hired a private investigator to expose the people behind the harassment campaign.
The investigator, David Gabai, to whom the Glickmans paid tens of thousands of shekels, was able to gain access to the leaders of the campaign, and recorded four of them discussing efforts to stage protests at the Glickmans’ home.
The fruit of his investigation led to a civil suit for slander against four of the men behind the publication of the booklet.
On Sunday, the Ramle Magistrate’s Court awarded Glickman some NIS 500,000 in damages for slander against three of the four defendants.
“The entire purpose of these publications is to disparage, shame, insult and disgrace, and in a way which is above and beyond what is reasonable and acceptable within the limits of freedom of speech,” wrote judge Menachem Mizrahi.