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December 22, 2005

Ha'aretz Pays 24,000 NIS for False Report . . . and Gets Off Easy

A false report by Akiva Eldar cost his publisher a small chunk of change. Ha'aretz preferred to pay up rather than fully apologize

Makor Rishon has reported that Ha'aretz has been forced to pay 24,000 NIS for a false 2003 report by senior columnist Akiva Eldar which defamed Aryeh King, a member of the Moledet party and a central figure in efforts to develop Jewish neighborhoods in eastern Jerusalem.

Ha'aretz agreed to pay the 24,000 NIS sum suggested by the Jerusalem regional court--three times the amount originally required by the Magistrate court--rather than face a precedent ruling that would require them to print a retraction wherever the slander appeared, including in the English edition and on the Web site.

A Jerusalem Magistrate court had earlier ordered Ha'aretz to pay King 8,000 NIS, on the basis that Ha'aretz had quickly issued an apology in the Hebrew paper.

King filed an appeal, noting that the apology never appeared in the English edition, on the Internet site, or in any other media outlet which cited the Eldar article.

Unfortunately for Ha'aretz, truth "for all practical purposes" does not hold up in the court of law.

In his column, Eldar had falsely claimed:

The son-in-law of [Irwin] Moskowitz, Aryeh King, manager of the Kedumim building company which is building the [Jewish] neighborhood [on the Mount of Olives], is the head of a Moledet cell at Hebrew University.

Eldar also said:

King told the local newspaper Jerusalem on Feb. 21 that he intends to populate 40 houses, with or without the city's permitting.

As Makor Rishon reported:

King never married one of Moskowitz's daugthers, did not manage the Kedumim building company, and didn't even serve as the head of Moledet at Hebrew University. He also didn't say in his interview with the Jerusalem newspaper that he intended to populate the houses without permitting.

This is not the first time that a Ha'aretz writer has been fined for a false report.

(Hat tip: Matty R.)

Posted by TS at December 22, 2005 07:16 AM


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