Court Orders Yated to Pay NIS 70,000 in Libel Suit

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courthammer2.jpgIn a libel suit against the chareidi Yated Neeman newspaper, a Jerusalem court ordered the newspaper to pay Rabbi Yisrael Rosen of Tzomet Institute NIS 70,000.

The case deals with an article written about four years ago, in which terrible adjectives were used in describing Rav Rosen, including “fool, ignoramus, worthless rat and simpleton”.

In his suit, the rabbi alleged the newspaper portrayed him as one who bends halacha when convenient for profit and one whose halachic rulings are influenced by profit. The article stated his ‘appetite for money” blind his halachic judgment. Two weeks later, a second defamatory article appeared against the rabbi along the same lines as the first.

In its defense, the newspaper argued the rabbi is a controversial figure in the religious world. The newspaper also cited an article by the rabbi, who harshly criticized the chareidi world, admorim and others, when Yahadut HaTorah joined the coalition after the National Religious Party broke away surrounding the 2005 Disengagement Plan, that resulted in the uprooting of Gaza’s Jewish community.

The court ruled the harsh terms used to describe the rabbi are not the problem, covered under free speech.

Yated argued that in an article published by Rav Rosen, in his reference to members of the Agudah Council of Torah Sages, he referred to them as “blinded by bribery…” Rav Rosen also lashed out at Rav Elyashiv Shlita in his writings.

The court ruled that his writings and actions represent Rabbi Rosen’s decision to place himself in the center of controversy.

Justice Shirley Rand however drew the line when the rabbi was accused of selling his halachic rulings for profit, stating the newspaper has no proof to back up the statement. The journalists stated they were compelled to write the articles, explaining this is the operational reality of the newspaper, explaining they are assigned what to write, and therefore, they should not be held liable. They explained they are not responsible for content of the paper. The court however did hold Yisrael Wertzel, Yitzchak Roth and Nathan Grossman responsible for their words.

The court stated nevertheless, despite the instructions and direction of the newspaper’s vaad rabbonim, the authors were “shlichim” responsible for this unacceptable journalism and therefore, they and the newspaper must make payment in the amount of NIS 70,000.

(Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)




14 COMMENTS

  1. It is only fair to mention the fact that the American Yated Ne’eman is in no way connected to the Israeli Yated.

    The Israeli newspaper is the official organ of the Degel HaTorah party. It was founded to counter the HaModia which is the newspaper of the Agudas Yisroel political party and publishes a Hebrew edition in Israel and an English edition here in the US.

    The American Yated, which was founded under the direction of the Gadol HaDor HaRav Shach Zt’l, is independent of any and all political parties in Israel. It remains the voice of Bnai Torah in America in its coverage and editorial content.

    Unfortunately, when our news is reported through the prism of any political party’s agenda, things that should be said are left out and things that should not be said are printed.

  2. Unfortunate on all counts. “I was doing what I was told to do” is the same excuse used by certain people who we wouldn’t quite excuse for their actions…

  3. ROSEN CAN LIBEL ANY TORAH SAGE, BUT THE DEFENDERS OF THE TORAH SAGES CANNOT RESPOND IN KIND.

    this ruling shows the bias of the court very clearly. Rosen is not some naive innocent who was set upon by the hareidim for no reason. He asked for it by attacking the Gedolim.

  4. it would be interesting to see rosens article and also the yated article

    the disengagement was inexcusable under any circumstances people excused it under ideology and others were promised financial benifits

  5. Let me hasten to point out that the Yated Neeman in Israel and the Yated Neeman in America are completely independent and distinct entities.

  6. It remains the voice of Bnai Torah in America in its coverage and editorial content.

    DO YOU KNOW THAT AS A FACT?
    Is there really an accurate and authentic voice of the Bnei Torah in America? Interesting assumption..

  7. #1 – something about your comment doesn’t make sense. I would think the hebrew language paper was created under the direction of R’ Shach who was the rabinical leader of degel hatorah. I don’t think R’ Shach had anything to do with the english version, other than they took the cue from the hebrew paper.

  8. deepthinker the Gedolim in this instance were wrong in joining the coalition, suppotring the evil Arab-loving government who are taking away Jews’ homes on the pretense it is built on ‘Arab Land’. Rav Rosen was completely right, and the Chareidi newspaper here was wrong, and he also is a rather weell known Rav, and they can criticize for lack of emunas chochomim, that is their opinion but calling him an ignoramus, worthless rat is Lashon Horo and gives the totally wrong idea of theis rav to the readers, which leads to readers passing it on, which is rechilus, and then people will say ‘how brutal this Rav is, even other religious Jews are against him!’, which will lead to a chilul Hash-m . This is what you want deepthinker?! the court may not have sued for this reason, but still in effect this is the right decision.

    Thanks, David

  9. Dear “Anonymous”–no. 11:

    You are right, and the Gedolim are wrong.–That’s the problem with the internet. Everybody has equal rights, even Mr. “anonymous.”

  10. It is good for the Yated to learn that they cant do whatever they like without anyone above them telling them how to behave towards others who have different opinions then them.

    Yated is a very rich concern and no need to have any mercy or worry where the editors will find the money.

    editors of Yated blame the Rabbonim for their mis-doings.
    I have never seen or heard the Rabbonim taking the blame.