- Title: Benjamin Netanyahu and wife testify in libel suit against Israeli journalist
- Date: 14th March 2017
- Summary: TEL AVIV, ISRAEL (MARCH 14, 2017) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF CONVOY CARRYING ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU AND WIFE SARA ARRIVING AT TEL AVIV COURT
- Embargoed: 28th March 2017 15:59
- Keywords: Benjamin Netanyahu lawsuit Tel Aviv court Yigal Sarna
- Location: TEL AVIV, ISRAEL
- City: TEL AVIV, ISRAEL
- Country: Israel
- Topics: Crime/Law/Justice,Judicial Process/Court Cases/Court Decisions
- Reuters ID: LVA00167XLRNR
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife testified in court on Tuesday (March 14) that a prominent journalist had invented a story that Sara Netanyahu once ordered her husband out of their car during a row.
Netanyahu, 67, described the report of the alleged incident as "ludicrous", "preposterous" and a complete fabrication. He said he and his wife had decided to bring a libel suit because they felt the journalist had gone too far and made the story up.
Igal Sarna wrote on his Facebook page a year ago, that an angry Mrs Netanyahu had ordered the prime minister's convoy to stop on the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem highway in the middle of the night, because she did not want him in the car any longer.
"I am uncertain as to whether she threw him out or whether he ejected himself from the vehicle," Sarna told Netanyahu's lawyer during testimony at Tel Aviv's magistrates' court.
Sarna said he had heard the story from a friend who heard it from another friend in the prime minister's security detail. He had decided not to call any witnesses to substantiate his allegations so as not to get anyone in trouble.
The prime minister spoke forcefully in court, sometimes gesticulating. He looked from the magistrates to reporters and over to his wife.
"He crossed the line," Netanyahu said of Sarna, banging his fist on the stand. "It's a gross lie, absurd."
Asked if he always told the truth on Facebook, a medium the prime minister uses almost daily, the prime minister replied: "I try."
At the end of the court session, Netanyahu's attorney, Yossi Cohen, told reporters: "I think that the testimonies of Mr Prime Minister Netanyahu and his wife Mrs Netanyahu were credible, fulsome, amazing."
Sarna's attorney, Lior Epstein, said: "We went to court, asked the questions we need to ask, we will conclude and then court will decide," he said.
The judge on Tuesday would not allow Sarna's lawyers to ask Netanyahu or his wife about their relationship or past incidents.
The Netanyahus are seeking damages of 280,000 shekels ($76,500), an apology and removal of Sarna's Facebook post.
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