Tel Aviv mayor sues Likud minister Miri Regev

She spread “fake news,” the Tel Aviv mayor said in the suit filed on Monday.

By David Isaac, World Israel News 

Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai filed a defamation suit against newly minted Transportation Minister Miri Regev on Monday.

The half million shekel suit claims that Regev, who was recently minister of culture and sport, lied about him for political gain ahead of the March elections.

The suit asserts that for Regev, “the end justifies the means, and for more ‘screen time’ she doesn’t loathe distributing ‘fake news’ and and wild incitement.”

The core of the suit is the comments Regev made before activists and Knesset members in February at a campaign event, in which she said that Huldai was forbidding the wearing of tefillin, or phylacteries, in the streets.

“You know that the mayor of the city of Tel Aviv admits that he doesn’t permit the wearing of tefillin in the streets – it’s simply bizarre. Is there an Israeli, a Jew, religious, secular that doesn’t connect to this thing called tefillin? There is no such thing.

“Our parents, grandfathers and grandmothers. There’s no Jew in the world that didn’t pray in secret, put on tefillin. In places that they persecuted Jews. Then here in the State of Israel in Tel Aviv they won’t permit the wearing of tefillin? Where can we say and where can there be such a thing? It’s simply a shame and a disgrace. There’s nothing more Jewish than wearing tefillin,” she is quoted as saying.

The lawsuits says that Regev not only “intentionally lied and distorted the facts” but repeated the claims a number of times. When presented with the “correct details,” she refused to retract her statements, Huldai said, explaining why he is suing.

Huldai said he intends to donate the money to a secular yeshiva if he wins the suit.

In February, Tel Aviv did forbid the placing of tefillin stands near schools and certain other places. Religious Jews in Israel, typically from Chabad, will offer people the chance to put on tefillin, a religious injunction.

Tel Aviv Deputy Mayor Reuven Ladianski said at the time, “We’ve received complaints from residents about prayer booths placed near the schools, and in some cases right at the entrance to schools.

“As a parent, I do not want various entities to approach my minor children with different and strange offers in the public space and especially not when they are near educational institutions.”