Protest at the Technion
Protest at the TechnionBochrim B'Mishpacha

The Chotam and Bochrim B'Mishpacha (choosing family) organizations on Sunday morning filed a defamation lawsuit against the Haaretz and Walla news organizations over claims that the organizations worked on behalf of the Noam political party.

The lawsuit filed by the organizations through attorney Michael Litvak states, among other things, that "following a request from students from the Technion, a launch event was held through the students from the Technion for the establishment of a 'student cell' of Bochrim B'Mishpacha. Two days later, an article was published on the Haaretz website titled - "Noam supporters are looking for a foothold in the academy, and are establishing their first student cell."

Following the publication, Bochrim B'Mishpacha chairman Michael Puah turned to the article's author, journalist Hilo Glazer, and asked that he clarify that Bochrim B'Mishpacha is a social and not a political organization. Glazer refused and stated that "the arm you lead expressed early support for Noam and Avi Maoz."

The lawsuit also states that "Puah sent a warning letter to the Haaretz newspaper, demanding compensation of NIS 50,000 for the damage to his reputation. In response to the warning letter, the reporter Glazer sent a message to Puah that read: "The title will not be changed, we stand behind it."

A few days later, another article was published in the Haaretz newspaper under the title: "Hundreds of Technion faculty members came out against the Noam supporters' cell on campus" and in the body of the article it was written that the "Bochrim B'Mishpacha" cell is identified with the Noam party.

In addition, the lawsuit notes another publication which claimed that the organizations are politically connected to the Noam party: "On the Walla website an article by the reporter Uri Sela was published entitled - 'Noam supporters formed the first student cell - and caused an uproar: 'anti-LGBT instigators', and the subtitle opens as follows: "An organization affiliated with Avi Maoz's party launched a new student cell at the Technion."

Walla has not responded to requests to retract its claims.

The plaintiffs demand compensation from the Haaretz newspaper in the amount of NIS 300,000 and NIS 50,000 from the Walla website.

Chotam chairman Amital Bareili said: "We work for the entire people of Israel and with all parties without political affiliation to one party or another. Those who publish falsehoods and do not want to retract them despite repeated appeals will be forced to pay for their actions."