Woman Pays Price for Defamation of Hospital Official

YERUSHALAYIM -
Sheba Hospital in Ramat Gan, Israel. (Tanya Preminger)

Israeli authorities have been making the point in recent months that they will not tolerate threats and abuse against public officials, particularly those working in the health sector.

On Thursday, a woman who made defamatory statements about senior doctor at Sheba Hospital over her endorsement of coronavirus vaccines agreed to pay NIS 42,000 ($13,300) in damages.

She also wrote a letter of apology as part of the settlement, according to Ynet.

The woman, whose name was not released, had accused Prof. Galia Rahav the head of the infectious diseases unit at the hospital, of deliberately trying to kill children through the national youth vaccination campaign. Her online rants contained threats to harm Rahav and other medical professionals, as well.

Rahav, who has been a high-profile representative for the government’s vaccination drives, said she plans to donate the money to nonprofit groups advancing vaccinations and science education.

“I am happy that people will understand there is a price for violence,” Rahav said.

Earlier this month, two people were arrested in connection with death threats sent to the Health Ministry’s head of public health Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Public Security Minister Omer Barlev both condemned the threats, as well as disinformation being put out by opponents of Israel’s vaccination campaign. Alroy-Preis has also been an outspoken advocate of vaccinations to stem the covid pandemic.