Liberman at Damascus gate.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Avigdor Liberman on Monday sued Channel 10 military reporter Or Heller for running a story claiming that the Yisrael Beytenu party leader had leaked the secret draft of the state comptroller’s report on the 2014 Gaza war.
Liberman is seeking NIS 140,000 in damages for defamation.
He says the funds will be donated to the Association for the Well-being of Israel’s Soldiers. He is also demanding that Heller issue an apology “for the false accusation” against him.
On May 5, portions of the report were leaked to Channel 2 and Haaretz, which framed the report as slamming Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and former IDF chief-of-staff Lt.-Gen. (res.) Benny Gantz harder than Israeli leaders were criticized for the 2006 Lebanon war.
The leaked contents of the report included claims that the three failed to fully anticipate or inform the Security Cabinet of the Hamas tunnel threat. There were also claims that they dragged out the war for too long and were problematically disconnected from commanders in the field.
Following the leak, the three, as well as rival politicians and State Comptroller Joseph Shapira lashed out at each other over the findings.
Shapira also called for an investigation into who leaked the draft report, and on May 6, Heller and Channel 10 aired the report saying that it had been Liberman.
The final version of the report is yet to be made public.
The Yisrael Beytenu party leader said that even though he was not obligated to do so as part of the lawsuit, he formally reiterated that he had not been the person who leaked the report.
He slammed Channel 10 for merely airing his refutation instead of rechecking with its sources as to whether the report was accurate.
Channel 10 issued a statement in response to the lawsuit.
“Or Heller publicized statements in the name of senior officials in the defense establishment who identified Mr.
Liberman as the leaker of portions of the report,” the statement said.
“In the broadcast, a detailed response by Mr.
Liberman was aired,” it added.