Former MK Stav Shaffir announced on Tuesday in a tweet that she had filed a defamation lawsuit against Yair Netanyahu, the son of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. "Freedom of speech, yes. Blatant lies and systematic sexual harassment, especially against women, in an attempt to make us afraid of talking - no. When I was in Knesset, I held back from suing because I had immunity. I'm not sure that I was right to do that. This year it feels like every line has been crossed. I'm suing also in the name of many others who were hurt by behavior like this. It needs to be stopped," she wrote.
The suit states that the background to this is the publication by the prime minister on the eve of Passover last year. In those days there were various restrictions, including a ban on gatherings and leaving the house, due to the spread of the coronavirus. The implication of these restrictions was that it was not possible to celebrate the Seder night with extended family, but only with household members. However, Netanyahu's Facebook account posted a picture showing him celebrating the holiday with his family, along with his son who did not live with him. Shaffir tweeted in response her disappointment with this conduct of the prime minister.
This led to an exchange of verbal blows on Twitter between the two, when in the first tweet Netanyahu wrote: "Are you sure you want to talk about morality in light of the failed project you tried to establish with a pedophile enthusiast and regular visitor to Epstein's pedophile island? Ugly outside and inside. Find yourself an Arab husband who will not dump you, go to some village, convert to Islam and leave us alone."
Shaffir replied: "I missed my family so much this holiday. The people who taught me to care for others and try to do good, even when it's hard. Now when I read the words of the prime minister's son who was educated in his way and is running out of our money, I miss them even more. Liar, wicked, racist, harasser. The mouth of the child is the father's legacy."
Netanyahu replied: "Communist, stupid, pedophile lover like you, the derogatory names you called me, keep Epstein, Barak and your other friends. I did not take a shekel from the state in my life. On the other hand, you owe the taxpayers eight million shekels."
The lawsuit states that Shaffir "raises the importance of freedom of expression" and that she would not file a defamation lawsuit for insults alone. However, the first tweet quoted in the indictment is "an attempt to harm the plaintiff and humiliate her using her gender and sexuality." Regarding the second tweet, Shaffir claimed that he was falsely presenting her "as a supporter of criminal activity and as a debtor."
The lawsuit added that "The defendant is not satisfied with lies, but uses statements that despise and belittle women. His statements teach us about his worldview regarding the status of women in society. The defendant's statements towards the plaintiff on a personal level express ridicule and disgust towards the plaintiff." Shaffir's attorneys further noted that he had "severely attacked the plaintiff as a woman, including expressions that constitute actual harassment."
Therefore, the former Knesset member is demanding that the court order Yair Netanyahu to compensate her with NIS 143,603 for publishing defamation and another NIS 120,000 for sexual harassment.