The Tel Aviv District Court has dismissed the petition by Yair Netanyahu to suspend the verdict of the Magistrates Court in the defamation suit brought against him by journalist Avi Alkalay. The District Court ordered Netanyahu to pay immediately the NIS 250,000 damages awarded to Alkalay.
In November 2019, former Walla! News editor Alkalay filed a defamation suit against Netanyahu, who had shared a post on social media alleging that Alkalay was a plant at Walla! acting on behalf of the Wexner Foundation against his father, then prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The ruling obliging Yair Netanyahu to pay Alakalay NIS 250,000 damages was handed down six months ago, after the former failed to file a defense. Netanyahu filed a petition to set aside the ruling , on the grounds that he did not know about the lawsuit, which he said had not been delivered to him. In early July, Judge Kochava Levy in the Magistrates Court rejected this claim and decided to leave the judgment in place, ordering Netanyahu to pay an additional NIS 30,000 court costs. Alkalay strengthened his claim that Netanyahu did know about the lawsuit by citing a tweet that Netanyahu had posted criticizing a report of it published in "Globes."
Last week, through Adv. Yossi Cohen, Netanyahu filed an appeal in the Tel Aviv District Court claiming that the he did not have the means to pay the damages, which he said would impoverish him. Alkalay's lawyers, Adv. Ron Lowenthal and Ilit Gilad showed that Netanyahu had over NIS 1 million in his bank accounts.
The Tel Aviv District Court has now dismissed Netanyahu's request for a stay of execution, and obliged him to pay a further NIS 7,500. The ruling states that Netanyahu had not produced a shred of evidence to support his claim that paying the damages would irretrievably ruin him financially, "neither wage slips nor bank statements nor a wealth declaration indicating his financial position; his claims were made without any basis," whereas Alkalay had appended to his response "information about assets at the banks… showing that the petitioner had at his disposal about NIS 1 million shekels in liquid assets."
"The case before us is not one of those exceptional instances that justify a stay of execution of a financial verdict, notwithstanding that the verdict was handed down ex parte and without the claim itself being heard. Neither the chances of success in an appeal nor the balance of convenience favors the petitioner," the District Court ruling concludes.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on August 29, 2021
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