Economics Minister Naftali Bennett has been portrayed in the media in numerous ways – mostly negative – and he has had enough of it. In a particularly acrid Facebook post Sunday, Bennett said that the next time a media outlet tries to falsely portray him in a negative light, he is going to sue them “like they have never been sued before.”
In the post, titled “enough with the lies,” Bennett wrote that “for three years the media has been reciting a litany of lies about me – that I am a racist, that I advocate genocide, that I am for murdering Arabs, that I am responsible for the deaths of 100 Lebanese,” and so on.
That latter “charge” was made in January, when Bennett was blamed for the deaths of 102 civilians during Operation Grapes of Wrath in Lebanon, 18 years ago, by Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot. Bennett vociferously denied the claim that said he put his troops in harm's way, leaving IDF artillery with no choice but to fire at a nearby village and end up “murdering” the Lebanese civilians. Bennett said that the story was ridiculous, and that his detractors “have been digging 20 years into the past” to taint him.
The civilians were killed by a single errant shell, and the incident led to pressure on Israel that forced it to abort that counter-terror operation earlier than planned.
The story – which Yediot Aharonot itself admitted was “unsourced” – was repeated numerous times in the media.
But no more, said Bennett. “I am already being considered for war crimes charges abroad because of this. It's no joke. They always say 'sue me,' and I say 'there is no need,' we will just reveal the truth.”
But that was before: Starting now, Bennett is taking a much tougher tack and plans to sue if these lies are repeated, he said – and his first suit will be aimed at a Globes reporter who, Bennett said, claimed that the Minister “called all Arabs car thieves" when he spoke about the problem of car thefts by Arabs in the Negev. Bennett had been addressing university students, dozens of whom walked out in protest.
"Dror,” Bennett wrote, referring to the writer, Dror Feuer, by his first name, “I will make this very simple. You have 24 hours to remove this, or you will face a lawsuit like you never have before.”