Yair Netanyahu refuses to accept apology in libel case, demands compensation
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Yair Netanyahu refuses to accept apology in libel case, demands compensation

Prime minister's son tells judge that Abie Binyamin is not sincere enough to satisfy his demands for justice; asks for NIS 140,000 in damages

Yair Netanyahu, son of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seen in the Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court, on June 5, 2018. (Flash90)
Yair Netanyahu, son of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seen in the Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court, on June 5, 2018. (Flash90)

The prime minister’s son Yair Netanyahu told a court Tuesday that he was refusing to accept an apology to settle a libel suit because the attempt to make amends was not sincere enough to satisfy his demands for justice.

Netanyahu sued over a Facebook post that claimed his father asked the Mossad to issue him a passport in a different name, which he then used to hide money offshore.

He sued activist Abie Binyamin for NIS 140,000 ($40,000) in compensation for making the claims in the post on August 17, 2016.

Netanyahu told the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court that an apology issued by Binyamin “is not a full apology,” the Hebrew-language Ynet website reported. “He didn’t say it never happened.”

It was not clear when Binyamin had issued the apology.

Judge Avi Shalev quoted Binyamin’s apology as saying “I happily apologize from the bottom of my heart because that is how one should behave. As a man of the truth, my conclusion is that this post apparently was false, I apologize to Yair Netanyahu and his father.”

Netanyhau’s attorney Yossi Cohen told the judge that “the apology is not acceptable to us. It wasn’t honest, it was reluctant. We want a court ruling.”

In the original post Binyamin, who has been active in demonstrations against the prime minister outside the home of the attorney general in Petah Tikva, allegedly wrote that the premier had called the head of the Mossad, requesting a passport in a fake name for his son Yair.

The prime minister allegedly said the passport was for security purposes, to protect his son as he traveled the world. Binyamin also claimed that the real purpose of the alleged false identity was to hide money overseas, and that the name used on the fake passport later appeared in the so-called Panama Papers, an anonymously leaked trove of millions of documents containing details about wealthy individuals and public officials, including their alleged offshore holdings.

“Young Yair Netanyahu, who has barely earned anything in his life, is already very rich,” Binyamin wrote.

The implications of the post were that the Netanyahu family was perhaps involved in money laundering or tax evasion.

In June 2017 the prime minister and his wife successfully sued for defamation over another Facebook post. The Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court ordered journalist Igal Sarna to pay them NIS 100,000 ($28,300.)

Sarna alleged in a Facebook post that Sara had stopped the prime minister’s convoy on a major highway and kicked her husband out on the side of the road.

The prime minister said that Sarna’s post was just one example of the many falsehoods put out about him and his family.

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