Registrar Uri Poni of the Jerusalem Magistrates Court ruled Monday that Haaretz reporter Neri Livneh must pay 225,000 shekels plus court costs and attorney fees to the Samaria (Shomron) community of Itamar and three of its residents after she did not respond in time to their defamation suit and did not seek an extension to file a response.
The suit stems from Livneh's appearance on the "Politica" television show about 18 months ago, when she said, "Itamar is a settlement of especially-aggressive people. Every two years or so, it produces a murderer."
She then cited two names of Itamar residents as proof of what she said, although the people in question had never been charged with murder, manslaughter, causing injury or any similar crime.
The suit was filed after repeated unanswered requests for an apology in as high-profile a setting as the TV show.
Itamar is located in the hills of the Shomron and specializes in organic foods, such as eggs and yoghurt made of goat's milk that are popular all over Israel, including the most politically left oriented sections of Tel Aviv.
Five members of the Fogel family, including a 3 month old baby, were brutally killed in cold blood one Friday night in Itamar just two years ago by Arabs from a nearby village.