Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai filed a libel lawsuit against newly-appointed Transportation Minister Miri Regev for half a million shekel regarding the “Tel Aviv tefillin stand affair.”
The lawsuit, filed at the Tel Aviv-Jaffa Magistrate’s Court, states that Regev stated lies about Huldai, incited against him and spread fake news ahead of the Knesset elections in March in “a campaign that [she] has been waging against [the mayor] for a long time.”
The lawsuit refers to public statements Regev made at a February campaign event, at which she accused Huldai of coming out against Judaism and freedom of religion by banning Tel Aviv residents from putting on tefillin.
Regev was referring to an incident in February widely reported by the media that the Tel Aviv municipality had banned stands, including tefillin stands, within 100 meters of publicly owned buildings that service minors, such as schools.
The decision was led by the Green Secular party, part of Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai’s coalition, which is headed by Tel Aviv Deputy Mayor Reuven Ladianski.
The news was condemned by religious political parties, religious groups and even secular personalities.
“Do you know that the Tel Aviv mayor announced that he wouldn’t permit tefillin on the street —it’s delusional,” Regev said in February.
“Is there an Israeli, Jewish, religious or secular person who doesn’t connect with tefillin? “There’s no such thing. Even when Jews were persecuted, they put on tefillin secretly. And here in the State of Israel, Tel Aviv won’t allow tefillin? It’s shameful. There’s nothing more Jewish than putting on tefillin.”
However, according to Huldai’s lawsuit, the decision about the stands was made without his input and did not single out tefillin stands but all types of stands. His lawsuit states that Regev “intentionally lied and distorted the facts,” adding that she repeated her statements several times including on public television and refused to correct her statements even when the true facts were clarified to her.
Huldai stated that if he wins, he will donate the money left after paying his legal fees to a secular yeshivah in Tel Aviv.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)