Attorney Vered Levy, the wife of a resident of Kiryat Arba who won a libel suit last week against the Haaretz news organization, spoke with Arutz Sheva about the problems the libelous article caused her family.
Haaretz ran an article in November 2011 titled "Crying over spilled champagne." The article covered the activities of Shin bet agent Avishai Raviv, who headed the fake right-wing organization Eyal.
Raviv was notorious for attempting to create false right-wing provocations during the 1990s. He was photographed wearing a t-shirt depicting former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in a Nazi uniform and was accused of encouraging Yigal Amir to assassinate Rabin.
The article was accompanied by a picture of Raviv and and picture of Levy's husband, who was Raviv's No. 2 in the organization.
"I've known my husband for 20 years, and he is not an agent for the Shin Bet." Levy said. "Avishai Raviv did those provocative actions and incited (hatred)."
"This hit us hard and affected the whole family. Journalists should behave like decent people. Apparently this has to be learned the hard way. It is good that justice was done."
The presiding judge, Gad Erenberg, rejected all of the explanations provided by Haaretz in court. The judge ruled that a plain reading of the article would suggest that the plaintiff was an agent of the Shin Bet when he has never been involved with the intelligence agency. The judge also rejected the argument that falsely claiming that an individual is a Shin Bet agent cannot fall under the category of 'defamation.'
The judge found, however, that the plaintiff could not prove that he suffered damages as a result of the article, and therefore only fined Haaretz 20,000 shekels (about $5,000). Haaretz was also required to publish an apology to the plaintiff on the same page of its newspaper as the original article was published on in 2011.