MKs Levy-Abekasis (left), Lavie
MKs Levy-Abekasis (left), LavieFlash 90

An Israeli fathers' rights activist, Sharon Ben-Haim, is taking legal action against left-wing newspaper Haaretz for publishing what he claims are defamatory statements made by MK Orly Levy-Abekasis (Likud-Beytenu) in a recent Knesset session, against another prominent men's rights activist, Amir Shipperman.

The Knesset session was a stormy one, in which feminist MKs fought tooth and nail against a fellow feminist, MK Gila Gamliel (Likud-Beytenu), and fathers' activists, regarding initiatives to cancel the Tender Years' Doctrine that grants divorcing mothers automatic preference in child custody disputes.

According to the letter sent by Ben-Haim to Haaretz, MK Levy-Abekasis said during the public session, which was aired live on the Knesset Channel, that Shipperman had sent her an email containing a picture of a gun, and that she was frightened by this. Haaretz's reporter published an article stating that MK Levy-Abekasis is “frightened” because she received an email from a father with a picture of a gun, and that MK Aliza Lavie (Yesh Atid), who co-chaired the session with Levy-Abekasis, was also scared because she saw a picture of herself in a bikini on the internet.

“Your client recklessly published these false statements without checking basic facts,” wrote Ben Haim, who said that no email of a gun had ever been sent to MK Levy-Abekasis. He further alleged that the newspaper had published “a completely false description of the terror that these female MKs used against the men who tried to make statements but were rudely interrupted time and time again.”

Ben Haim, who explained that he became a fathers' rights activist after his daughter was kidnapped from him, admonished Haaretz: “In the future, when you write about men's rights, fathers' rights, women's rights, family courts, rabbinical courts, etc., we expect you to collect a statement from the fathers' rights activists in Israel, so as to present to your readers a full unbiased picture.”

Arutz Sheva asked Haaretz for its reaction and will publish it once it is received.