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June 05, 2006

Ha'aretz Settles in Defamation Lawsuit

Arutz 7 reports that some Israeli media, including Ha'aretz, have been sued by Hebron residents about whom they made false claims. The incident goes back to a Supreme Court ruling that several Hebron families be removed from a disputed building pending investigation into the matter. The Jewish buyers have a sales deed they say proves their legal ownership of the building while the Arab sellers say the deed is a forgery.

Several Israeli media had their own version of the events. They reported that the Supreme Court had ruled against the Jews of Hevron and that the purchase papers were in fact forged. For this, they will now pay between 13,000 and 15,000 shekels each to the families, and will publish a public apology.

Long-time Hevron resident Orit Strook, a spokesperson for the Jewish community there, said that the false reports by two of Israel's largest newspapers, Yediot Acharonot and Haaretz, "denied what the Supreme Court ruled, and violated journalistic ethical guidelines as well as the laws of slander, causing harm to those who purchased the building and populated it."

Strook noted that it was specifically not the reporters' fault, but rather that of the editors: "The reporters for both papers submitted accurate reports, but the editors are the ones who publicized the false information: In Yediot in the form of a headline, and in Haaretz in the form of an editorial."

Ha'aretz has a history of publishing false or misleading information, particularly when it portrays Israelis in a bad light. It is appropriate that its editors be made to apologize for disseminating inaccurate information.

Posted by rh at June 5, 2006 12:10 PM


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