Tzvi Bar-Yosef
Tzvi Bar-YosefCourtesy

The Beit Shemesh Magistrate's Court ordered the left-wing organization 'Kerem Navot' to compensate Tzvi Bar-Yosef, an owner of an agricultural farm near Neve Tzuf, after claiming that he is a "violent person".

In the verdict, it was determined that there is no evidence that Bar Yosef acted in physical violence himself, and it was even hinted that the international sanctions imposed on him were based on 'hearsay evidence' received from Israeli left-wing activists.

The saga began about four years ago in May 2020, when 'Kerem Navot' published a post against Bar Yosef, alongside his picture and the picture of two other individuals. "Welcome to the terror farm established east of the Halamish settlement. Tzvi Bar-Yosef is a violent settler, who in any normal place would obviously have long been facing criminal charges. But the West Bank is not a normal place and hence Tzvi Bar-Yosef is not only not facing charges but is an owner of a cattle farm that has been established over the last two years on thousands of square metres."

"What are they doing at Mr. Bar-Yosef's farm? Building pirate roads, constructing illegal buildings, allowing cows to graze in Palestinian olive groves in the area, attacking landowners or just Palestinians coming for a picnic in an especially cruel manner, and also occasionally resorting to violence against Israelis who come to document their takeover of thousands of square meters between the villages Kobar and Jibiya and Um Safa".

"Tzvi Bar-Yosef is just one of hundreds of particularly violent settlers whom the State of Israel employs to take over territories in the West Bank. They call it Zionist settlement and protecting state lands. In the initial response, you can get a glimpse into the deranged world of Mr. Bar Yosef and his friends", the organization accused.

Following the publication, Bar Yosef filed a lawsuit against the organization for defamation and invasion of privacy through his lawyer Shlomi Weinberg, demanding a compensation of 70,000 shekels.

"The publication", wrote Bar Yosef's representative in the lawsuit, "was written to make them a target for severe damage and to endanger their lives among the Arab public, and also severely damaged their reputation. The sole purpose of the defendant in the publication, it was further claimed, is deliberate and irreparable harm to the plaintiffs and their enterprises."

The organization replied that "the plaintiff is an especially violent man who attacks Palestinians with particular cruelty and racism in a manner bordering on systematic sadism.

The Beit Shemesh Magistrate's Court determined that "the conclusions of the verdict after examining ample evidence led to the conclusion that not the plaintiff was the one who exercised violence against Palestinian residents, but other people. In this matter, there is no dispute about the claim of violence against them. However, it was not proven that the plaintiff himself took physical violence and beat them. Therefore, the publication aggravated the plaintiff and presented him negatively, potentially damaging his reputation."

During recent hearings, 'Kerem Navot' asked to include as evidence the sanctions imposed by Britain on Bar-Yosef, claiming that he is violent. The registrar rejected the request and ruled: "As the plaintiff claims, the blacklist he was put on is a statement from a foreign government and its evidentiary weight is weak. The information received by the British government is not clear how it can be verified, and indeed it was indeed fed by information received from sources here. Therefore, ostensibly, it is hearsay evidence."

Tzvi Bar-Yosef responded to the verdict: "After years of a despicable and false campaign by extremist left-wing organizations trying to portray the pioneers of settlement as violent monsters and cause sanctions against us from world countries, it's time for those who defame us and formalize attacking us to pay. As we have acted until today despite the harassment, we will continue and proudly settle the land of our forefathers and continue to stand guard on the settlement front."