Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu filed a lawsuit with the Jerusalem Magistrates Court against Hebrew daily “Ma’ariv” and Channel 10 News on Tuesday, over an investigative report by Raviv Drucker about Netanyahu’s donors in the 2005 Likud primaries. He is insisting on NIS 1 million from each, in damages.
The Channel 10 report claimed the Prime Minister spent more than $50,000 while on a six-day public relations tour during the 2006 Lebanon invasion. The tab included staying with his wife at the Connaught Hotel – among London’s finest – bar bills, first class airfare, meals, dry cleaning and $3,170 for theater tickets.
Netanyahu’s statement said:
“The mention of the prime minister in the mendacious article is contemptuous and very hurtful. It creates a negative image and presents him as a criminal in a way that humiliates in the eyes of society and to make him a target of ridicule and mockery for alleged acts which have no factual basis.”
The statement said Channel 10 and Drucker published the article :
“Maliciously and in bad faith, as part of a witch-hunt against Netanyahu. The blood of the prime minister will not be spilled with impunity. There is no place to allow a witch-hunt of the prime minister when there is not an iota of truth in the facts.”
The libel suit against “Ma’ariv” is based on the report, Netanyahu claims “gives the reader the erroneous impression that the value of dinner eaten by Netanyahu and his wife is NIS 60,000, and that similar dinners were part of their ostensible ‘spendthrift travels’.”
The Prime Minister’s attorney said Bibi and his wife “never ate a dinner whose cost approaches the value stated in the article’s headline and the impression obtained from reading the article and the subhead is erroneous and misleading.”