Meretz head sues Ben-Gvir after he claimed she hit IDF soldier

Itamar Ben-Gvir is a current member of Knesset and therefore has parliamentary immunity, meaning he cannot be tried. 

 Meretz Leader Zehava Galon (photo credit: GILI YAARI/FLASH90)
Meretz Leader Zehava Galon
(photo credit: GILI YAARI/FLASH90)

Zehava Galon, a former member of Knesset and head of the Meretz party, filed a defamation lawsuit against MK Itamar Ben-Gvir on Sunday, claiming that he spread lies about her during the election campaign. 

Specifically, the Otzma Yehudit MK claimed that Galon threw stones at an IDF soldier some 20 years ago. 

The text of Galon's lawsuit states: "The defendant spread false information about the plaintiff designed to discredit her and present her as someone who resorted to violence against IDF soldiers. [He did this] in gross bad faith and in a manner that crosses every boundary possible, even by the standards of the campaign trail."

However, because Ben-Gvir is a current member of Knesset and therefore has parliamentary immunity, he cannot be tried. 

Ben-Gvir's lawsuit 

 Itamar Ben-Gvir and right-wing activists protest against a meeting with bereaved Palestinian families outside the Rene Kasen high school in Jerusalem, March 29, 2022.  (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90) Itamar Ben-Gvir and right-wing activists protest against a meeting with bereaved Palestinian families outside the Rene Kasen high school in Jerusalem, March 29, 2022. (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

Ben-Gvir himself had sued Galon during his campaign, calling her "the only supporter of terrorism in Knesset." According to Galon, Ben-Gvir's statement about throwing stones is entirely fictional and defamatory. He said these things in an interview with Israeli Channel 12 correspondent Dana Weiss, as well as on his own Twitter account. 

As part of her suit, Galon is demanding that Ben-Gvir's claim against her be dismissed outright. "It is really difficult to imagine a lawsuit that deserves to be thrown out more than [Ben-Gvir's]," she said. "[This is] mainly due to the clear intention to harm a political opponent through the foolish use of the law against defamation."

The suit against Galon, which was filed in October 2022 to the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court, called for financial compensation of NIS 300,000. Given that Galon is no longer a member of Knesset and thus has lost parliamentary immunity, the lawsuit is still active. The accusations against her were based on Galon's social media posts advocating against Ben-Gvir.

The text of Ben-Gvir's suit reads: "Due to defamatory posts which contained serious lies about [MK Itamar Ben-Gvir], and [were posted] with the intention of harming him by labeling him as an extremist head of a terror organization that has a 'military arm,' and by claiming that he has the intention to harm all Arabs, leftists and LGBTQ people, the plaintiff's good name was damaged."