Tel Aviv mayor sues Regev for 'fake news' during mayoral campaign

The suit claims that, for Regev, "the ends justify all the means and for additional 'screen time' she does not shy away from knowingly disseminating 'fake news' and wild incitement."

Transportation Minister Miri Regev and Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM & FACEBOOK)
Transportation Minister Miri Regev and Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai
Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai sued Transportation Minister Miri Regev on Monday for defamation, claiming that Regev made incorrect statements about him during his mayoral campaign and demanding half a million shekels in compensation.
Huldai’s attorneys stated that, for Regev, “the ends justify all the means, and for additional ‘screen time’ she does not shy away from knowingly disseminating ‘fake news’ and wild incitement.” They also claimed that Regev disregarded the consequences of her words.
The suit stated that they would have expected Regev to retract her statements, and Huldai stated that when she did not do this he was forced to get the court involved “in order to send a sharp and clear message to Regev and to other elected officials that they need to place an end to this culture of lies that pollutes public discourse.”
In February, Huldai demanded an apology and NIS 100,000 fine from Culture Minister Miri Regev after she claimed he forbade the wearing of tefillin in the city.
The suit filed on Monday refers to a statement by Regev to activists and MKs at the time, saying “you know that the mayor of Tel Aviv announced that he isn’t allowing wrapping tefillin on the street – it’s just crazy. Are there Israeli, Jewish, religious, secular [people] who don’t connect to this thing that we call tefillin? There’s no such thing.”
The exchange followed the Tel Aviv Municipality’s February 11 decision to prevent the placement of various types of stalls, including prayer stalls, within 100 m. of public buildings serving minors. Prayer stalls often involve religious Jews asking Jewish males to wrap tefillin and pray, which observant men traditionally do in the morning.
Regev compared the order to situations in which Jews were chased and forced to worship in hiding. “Simply a shame and disgrace. There’s nothing more Jewish than putting on tefillin,” said Regev, according to Channel 12.
Huldai argued that there are many stands in which religious Jews are able to appeal to other Jewish men and that his instruction was that such stands will not be placed next to schools. Huldai claimed that this is an old regulation and applies for all stands offering services.
Some non-religious Jews view the stands as obtrusive and object to them being near schools as these efforts might be seen as an attempt to make children more observant against their parents’ wishes.
Regev said she is not afraid, and accused Huldai of using a lawsuit to silence her.
“I am proud to speak for a society you call ‘crazed,’ a society you look down on, a society that puts on tefillin, kisses the mezuzah and visits the graves of righteous men,” she said.