National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir is seeking NIS 3 million in damages from Haaretz and its reporter Josh Breiner for a report that he said was falsified and amounts to libel, he announced on Thursday.
The report, published earlier in June, alleged that far-right activist and former student of Rabbi Meir Kahane Benzi Gopstein had been advising the national security minister on matters relating to Israel Police.
"It is needless to say that the report is false, with its only intention being to damage the national security minister," a statement from Ben-Gvir's circle read. "Gopstein, a close friend and neighbor of the plaintiff for many years, has never advised him on any security matter nor has he been involved in any closed meetings or decisions taken by the plaintiff as part of his role as national security minister."
"It is time that Breiner, who is only impersonating a journalist, finds out that the lies he publishes on a daily basis have a price," Ben-Gvir's office said. "We will see you in court."
Who is Lehava founder Benzi Gopstein?
Gopstein was banned from running for Knesset in 2019 as he was indicted on charges of incitement to terrorism, violence and racism.
Gopstein is also the founder of the Lehava organization, which has recently made headlines for threatening to disrupt the Jerusalem pride parade, which took place in the Israeli capital earlier in June.
A former Israel Police deputy commissioner also told 103FM radio about Gopstein's advisory position, saying he is the "chairman of the [most terrible] organization in the country...[and] became the advisor for the convicted criminal minister."