Rabbi Ovadia Yosef
Rabbi Ovadia YosefIsrael news photo: Flash 90

An Arab terrorist who was convicted of plotting to murder former Sephardic Chief Rabbi Ovadia Yosef is suing Arutz Sheva for quoting a statement he made in which he expressed his desire to see Rabbi Yosef killed – claiming that his “good name” had been sullied.

The strange story evolved after the terrorists, Salah Hamori, was released from prison last December, on early release as part of the deal to free kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit. Hamori, along with two others, had been convicted in 2009 along with a second terrorist of conducting a reconnaissance mission in Jerusalem's Har Nof neighborhood, with the intent of gathering information and data that could be used to assassinate Rabbi Yosef. Hamori was arrested for conpiring to kill the Rabbi, with the Shabak furnishing enough evidence on the terrorist's plans to merit him a seven year sentence. He was released after serving just over two years.

Reporting on his release, Arutz Sheva reported that Hamori had quoted Hamori as saying in an interview that “Rabbi Yosef deserves to die.” The original quote had appeared in a piece by the Reuters news agency. Hamori sued Arutz Sheva, claiming that he had made no such statement, and that attributing it to him had ruined his reputation and his “good name.” In his lawsuit, Hamori demanded a million shekels in damages

A Jerusalem court ordered both sides to work out a deal. Speaking after a session at a Jerusalem arbitrator's office, Uzi Baruch, director of the Arutz Sheva website, said that “it's very strange that at this time when the IDF is fighting terror groups in Gaza that we are forced to undergo this process with an evil, heartless man who was convicted of plotting to murder one of the Jewish people's great leaders. Instead of hiding in his home, this convicted terrorist has the arrogance to use Israeli courts to sue over damages to his 'good name.' This entire story is ridiculous, and we will fight it to the end,” he said.

Hamori, who has dual PA-French citizenship, was active in the Popular Front terror group, and had been arrested in 2005 along with two others for terrorist activities in Jerusalem. He was later arrested for the plot to kill Rabbi Yosef. His name was added to the list of terrorists released in the Shalit deal at the insistence of the French government.