Naftali Bennett
Naftali BennettReuters

The Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court will hold a pre-trial hearing on the defamation suit submitted by former Prime Minister Naftali Bennett against Yigal Malka and Rabbi Yosef Mizrachi.

The suit against Rabbi Mizrachi was submitted by Bennett together with his mother since Rabbi Mizrachi was quoted saying that Bennett is a Reform Jew and that his mother is not Jewish.

"Ms. Bennett, who was born a Jew, the descendant of a family that lost many members in the Holocaust because they were Jewish, and immigrated to Israel in an act of Zionism, leaving behind a life of plenty. Together with Mr. Bennett's late father, Jim Yaakov, she began to receive many questions from people, including those who know her, asking about her Judaism since they heard that there is a 'rabbi' who claims otherwise," the suit states.

The defendant's lawyer, Yosef Wietzman, responded and claimed that "Naftali Bennett launched an additional campaign for the Prime Ministership and chose to use the defendant as well as additional defendants to gain votes, publicity, and political gain. The suit was submitted at an unusual and exaggerated sum of 1,000,000 NIS without any support or proof of any damage caused to the claimants; therefore, this is a nagging and spiteful empty suit that is being done to scare, silence, exhaust, and gain personal and political publicity.

Yigal Malka is being sued for publishing on social media information "that is meant to spread lies that Mr. Bennett deceitfully took 50 million NIS from public funds to improve his house during his term as Prime Minister" and also "posted a photo of Mr. Bennett in the Knesset Plenum while hinting that Mr. Bennett is violent against his wife." Malka is also accused of writing that the former Prime Minister is "a spy like Eli Cohen was in Syria, only the opposite, and with that, he sought to portray Mr. Bennett as one who operates for a foreign government to harm Israel."

Malka's attorney, Itamar Barkai, told Maariv that the suit is a "Strategic lawsuit against public participation which has no basis and base and was submitted in bad faith and out of foreign and non-acceptable considerations while taking advantage of the legal process, violating the law and the ruling."