Think Tank sues Netanyahu's son over Facebook post

Molad accused the prime minister's son of "incitement."

August 9, 2017 06:46
1 minute read.
Yair Netanyahu

Yair Netanyahu. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)


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Facebook mudslinging between progressive think tank Molad – Center for Renewal of Israeli Democracy and the prime minister’s son Yair Netanyahu devolved into a lawsuit on Tuesday, with Molad suing Netanyahu for libel.

A week and a half ago, a woman who lives near the Prime Minister’s Residence wrote a Facebook post accusing Netanyahu of not cleaning up after the family dog, Kaya, and giving her the middle finger when she pointed it out to him.

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“Sixty-One,” a Molad social media project, then posted a graphic listing “Five things you didn’t know about Yair Netanyahu,” including that he lives in the Prime Minister’s Residence and is the first son or daughter of a prime minister to receive around-the-clock security as an adult, and that he traveled abroad on Australian billionaire James Packer’s dime and stayed in his homes.

Yair Netanyahu turned 26 on July 26.

Molad is suing Netanyahu for NIS 140,474 over his response to the post, in which he called Molad “an anti-Zionist organization” that is funded by the “fund to destroy Israel,” an apparent reference to the New Israel Fund, which used to but no longer contributes to Molad.

According to Molad, the claim that it is anti-Zionist “has not a shred of truth, and is meant to shame” the organization and delegitimize it.

“The claim that the plaintiff is ‘anti-Zionist’ is an attempt to create an impression that the plaintiff is acting against the existence of the State of Israel and is, de facto, an enemy organization,” the lawsuit reads.

“These serious libelous words, which were not an honest mistake and were motivated by a goal to harm the plaintiff, could be considered incitement.”

Netanyahu’s statements were “part of a systematic public propaganda campaign meant to present an entire group in Israel as not-legitimate and those identified with it as traitors and enemies,” the lawsuit claims.

Shlomi Weinberg, chairman of the Israel Bar Association Libel Committee, said there is a good chance Molad’s “problematic” lawsuit will be rejected, because Netanyahu expressed his opinion and impression of events.

“If the court reaches the conclusion that this is an expression of opinion made in good faith, meaning, Netanyahu truly believed what he wrote, then the lawsuit will be rejected,” Weinberg said.

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