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In latest lawsuit, Yair Netanyahu sued for misquoting journalist’s remarks

A journalist filed a lawsuit against Yair Netanyahu on Thursday, the latest in a series of court cases against the prime minister’s son over his combative presence online and in the media.

The prime minister’s Likud party was also named as a defendant in the lawsuit filed by Haaretz writer Yossi Klein.

Klein claimed that Yair Netanyahu skewed his words in a piece Netanyahu wrote for the Behadrei Haredim outlet, by quoting the journalist as saying, “Protesters went home with a bad feeling because no blood was spilled,” after a rally at the Knesset in Jerusalem earlier this year.

The quote was also shared by the prime minister’s Likud party’s Twitter account in a post that said the party had filed an incitement complaint with police against Klein.

“The facts are completely different,” Klein told the court, noting that in his February opinion piece he actually wrote “Protesters went home with a bad feeling, but also with a kind of relief. No blood was spilled.”

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Two weeks after the initial incident, Klein published a response highlighting the alleged misquote, but “this article also did not cause the defendants to remove their dubious publications, therefore the presumption of good faith is not satisfactory,” the lawsuit said.

“There can be no doubt that the relief that was described is for the calm that prevailed in the demonstration, and for the fact that no blood was spilled,” the lawsuit said.

According to the Walla outlet, Klein is seeking NIS 315,000 ($81,813) in damages. Klein pointed out to the court that Netanyahu has tens of thousands of followers on his social media accounts.

Last month Yair Netanyahu was ordered to pay NIS 130,000 ($34,000) in damages to a political activist over an online post insinuating she was National Unity leader Benny Gantz’s lover.

Dana Cassidy, an activist for Gantz’s Blue and White party, had sued Netanyahu for libel over a tweet showing her Facebook profile picture during the heat of an election campaign in 2020.

Yair Netanyahu has a history of posting incendiary messages on social media, leading to a report in April that the premier had demanded he stop posting amid accusations he was inflaming tensions in Israel and exacerbating a diplomatic rift with the United States.

Netanyahu has appealed that decision.