Author Naomi Ragen Cleared of Plagiarism, Copyright Infringement

Author Naomi Ragen has been cleared by Israel's Supreme Court of all charges -- plagiarism and copyright infringement -- in the Tal case.

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Chana Ya'ar,

Naomi Ragen
Naomi Ragen
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Author Naomi Ragen has been cleared by Israel's Supreme Court on all charges of plagiarism and copyright infringement in a case brought against her by writer Michal Tal.

The case filed by Tal, a self-published author, over what she claimed were similarities to her own manuscript in Ragen's book "The Ghost of Hannah Mendes," was decided in Ragen's favor after Tal's death. The case was officially vacated Tuesday by a panel of judges.

Chief Justice Dorit Beinisch, Justice Asher Gronish and Justice Edna Arbel accepted an agreement reached by Ragen and Tal's heirs stating "There is not and never was any basis whatsoever for any claim of plagiarism or copyright infringement brought against Naomi Ragen in the Jerusalem District Court." The decision also stated that "Tal sincerely believed at the time in the justice of her claims."

Ragen noted, however, that "Tal's claims were delusional, but the travesties and suffering I endured for five years over this frivolous case were very real. It has been a truly horrifying experience for me and my family.

"I am immensely pleased that justice has been finally been served and that the truth has come out in this case. Just as the truth has come to light in this case, it is my hope and belief that I will eventually be fully exonerated in the other cases against me."

Last month a second lawsuit was filed by another author, Sarah Shapiro, who took the same lawyer as Tal -- and this time the judge decided against Ragen, a New York resident prior to her aliyah to Israel in 1971.

The American-Israeli author, a religious Zionist woman who has written material that targets the hareidi religious position on feminist issues, was said to have copied portions of Sarah Shapiro's "Growing Up with My Children" and inserted them in her own novel, "Sotah." 

Although she has vehemently denied the charges, the Jerusalem District Court ruled in favor of Shapiro.

Both live in Jerusalem, and have been ordered by the judge in the case to negotiate a settlement.