NEW YORK (Sep. 7)
Yariv Ben Eliezer, the grandson of the late David Ben Gurion and the former secretary general of the Israel Student Organization in the United States and Canada (ISO), filed a suit last Friday in the New York State Supreme Court seeking $518,786 in damages from the State of Israel, the ISO and three former ISO officials.
In a telephone interview with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Ben Eliezer said he is suing for breach of contract and defamation of character. Ben Eliezer, who served as the ISO secretary general from 1972 to 1976, said he is seeking $500,000 in damages for “false and defamatory” accusations against him that injured his reputation.
He said that in October and November 1976 the defendants, in a newsletter to ISO members and in publications in the Israeli press, accused him of corruption and other wrong-doings. In his suit, Ben Eliezer charged that because of these publications “his credit and reputation were injured and he suffered pain and mental anguish.”
The additional sum of $18,786 Ben Eliezer is seeking is for breach of contract. He said his contract with the ISO and the State of Israel provided that his term as ISO secretary general would end in March, 1978 but he was fired “for no reason” in December, 1976.
In a response to a JTA query, Lior Yaron, the present ISO secretary general, said Ben Eliezer’s suit is “devoid of any basis. It aims to harm the ISO and the State of Israel.” According to Yaron, the ISO is preparing a counter-suit. “We are going to sue Ben Eliezer for damages he caused the ISO during the years he served as secretary general,” Yaron said. A hearing date has not yet been set.