Israeli court awards Netanyahus $32500 in libel case

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara won a libel suit on Sunday against an Israeli journalist who claimed that she once kicked her husband out of their vehicle during an argument. "Until the publication in question, Netanyahu had not sued him nor tried to silence him".

The Tel Aviv Magistrate Court ruled that Igal Sarna libeled the Netanyahus in a post on Facebook, in which he claimed that Sara Netanyahu kicked Benjamin Netanyahu out of the auto during a night ride from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The couple had demanded NIS 279,243 (USD 72,813) from Sarna over his claims in the libel suit at the Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court.

Court documents said writer Igal Sarna was ordered to pay 60,000 shekels ($17,000, 15,000 euros) in damages to Netanyahu and 40,000 shekels to his wife Sara, as well as a further 15,000 shekels for the couple's court costs.

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Appearing in court with his wife in March 2017, surrounded by bodyguards, Netanyahu said the story was a fabrication, describing it as "so false, so absurd". He also criticised the style of the Facebook posts, saying they were written in an "impassioned style meant to augment the tale and dramatise it while expressing contempt for the plaintiffs".

Reacting to the verdict Sunday, Sarna said in a Facebook post that he would appeal: "This kind of verdict is what is expected during these dark days".

Sarna writes for Yedioth Ahronoth, a major Israeli newspaper that is often critical of Netanyahu. Netanyahu added that claiming that "my wife controls the security of the State of Israel is a delusional thing".

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"Everything Sarna said was a lie".

Mrs Netanyahu said that although she had had arguments with her husband over the years, she could not remember one taking place in a motorcade. The reporter also said that he was told by a friend of the couple that similar incidents had happened before.

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