Attorneys for the Samaria town of Yitzhar have demanded an unconditional and immediate apology from Voice of Israel public radio military affairs correspondent Carmela Menashe, over what they said was a libelous story Menashe publicized Wednesday regarding a child. If an apology was not forthcoming forthwith, the attorneys said, Yitzhar and other voluntary and citizen groups in Judea and Samaria would sue Menashe and Israel Radio for slander – and they were positive of winning the case, the attorneys said.
In addition to an apology, the attorneys are demanding a payment of NIS 200,000 for pain and suffering, and for damaging the reputation of the child, his family, and the town.
At issue is a report Menashe broadcast on Voice of Israel Wednesday night, in which she reported that a seven year old boy in Yitzhar had accused a Bedouin soldier of raping him. According to Yitzhar officials, Menashe did not just falsely report an incident – and a complaint – that never took place, but also developed a psychoanalytical theory surrounding her story, in which “the imaginary child invented the story as a reaction to the murder of Evyatar Borovsky in Tapuach.”
Menashe added that the incident was known to Yitzhar town leaders, but that they were deliberately ignoring it.
Yitzhar officials said that Menashe, perhaps out of laziness, failed to check the facts; had she done so, she would have found that there was no record of a complaint made by any resident of Yitzhar, and that indeed there were no members from the unit of the soldier in question stationed recently in Yitzhar.
Yossi Dagan, chairman of the Samaria Regional Council, said that “apparently there are, on the left wing and in the media, many people who think they can do whatever they want. Over many years politicians ans reporters have slandered the names of Yesha residents, and accused them falsely on so many occasions. We will no longer remain silent. The hundreds of thousands of residents of Judea and Samaria will no longer allow themselves to be fodder for the pathetic 'scoops' that rude haters invent. Legitimate criticism is fine; all we demand is that the facts be kept straight.”
Avraham Binyamin, a spokesperson for Yitzhar, said that “beyond the professional and journalistic failure in spreading a false story, without even seeking a reaction from town officials, it appears that Menashe's actions simply reflect the hatred and incitement she and others have for Yitzhar residents. Knocking Yitzhar is a 'growth industry' for people like Menashe, who are busy these days mourning fir their friend Evyatar Borovsky, murdered by an Arab terrorist.
“With that, every Jews has an opportunity to repent,” said Binyamin. “After an apology, compensation, and the conclusion of the legal issue, Menashe is invited to visit and get to know our people, and our love for the land.”