Naftali Bennett
Naftali BennettYonatan Sindel/Flash90

Naftali Bennet launched an NIS 1 million ($290,000 USD) lawsuit for defamation on Tuesday against a rabbi who claimed the former Prime Minister’s mother is a Reform convert.

The lawsuit charged that Rabbi Ronen Shaulov made defamatory statements, including “appalling epithets and curses." It said the allegations were read by over 700,000 online, the Jewish Chronicle reported.

The lawsuit stated that a Google search for Bennet’s mother suggested adding the words “Christian” or “convert” to the search.

This was evidence that Rabbi Shaulov’s claims had taken a “deep hold” with the public, the lawsuit claimed.

Rabbi Shaulov posted videos online that alleged Bennett’s mother Myrna was a Reform convert who converted in the US. He also claimed that Bennett “sold out the country” to non-Jews and described him as disloyal and “worse than a dog,” according to the report.

Responding to the claims about his mother, Bennett said in a statement that both his parents were from Ashkenazi families who had members “murdered in the Holocaust for being Jewish.”

He described the claims about his mother’s ancestry as bringing her “great pain and sadness.”

Bennett added that he had refrained from taking legal action while he was in office but was doing so now out of a person obligation against “the spread of lies that poison public discourse.”