Court rejects journalist's appeal in Hevron libel suit

Otzma Yehudit candidate and attorney Itamar Ben-Gvir wins appeal against Yediot Ahronot journalist who called Hevron resident a 'Nazi'.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Yigal Sarna
Yigal Sarna
Miriam Alster/ Flash 90

A Jerusalem court has rejected an appeal by a veteran Israeli journalist seeking to overturn a decision in a libel suit, after he called a Jewish resident of Hevron a “Nazi” for photographing a terrorist who had been killed during an attack.

In January 2015, Igal Sarna, a writer for Yediot Ahronot, took a picture of Ashi Horowitz, a member of the Hevron Jewish community’s rapid response team, as Horowitz was photographing the body of a dead terrorist.

Noting that Horowitz appeared to be smiling, Sarna wrote a social media post comparing Horowitz to the Cossacks, and calling Horowitz something “between scum and a Nazi”.

Last year, the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court found in favor of Horowitz, who was represented by attorney Itamar Ben-Gvir – now a candidate for the Knesset on the joint Jewish Home-National Union-Otzma Yehudit ticket.

The court ordered Sarna to pay Horowitz a total of 25,000 shekels ($6,924), including 20,000 shekels in damages and 5,000 in legal fees.

Sarna appealed the decision, arguing that his description of Horowitz as a “Nazi” was not literal, and should be viewed as a colloquialism used to express extreme disgust.

The Jerusalem District Court, however, rejected Sarna’s appeal, finding that given the term’s historical background, the word “Nazi” did not lose its intensely negative connotation when used colloquially.

The court reaffirmed the previous ruling, ordering Sarna to pay 25,000 shekels in damages and legal fees.