Italy blocks defamatory Web sites

ROME, Jan. 11 (JTA) — Italy’s highest appeals court has ruled that Italy can block access to foreign Web sites that violate the nation’s anti-defamation laws.

The ruling handed down Wednesday stems from a case brought by Moshe Dulberg, an Israeli man living in Italy.

Dulberg accused Israeli, American and other foreign-based Web sites accessible in Italy of slandering him in their reports about a widely publicized battle with his former wife over custody of their two daughters.

Some of the sites he quoted accused him of kidnapping and brainwashing the girls.

The girls, now 15 and 11, are the daughters of Dulberg and his former wife, Tali Pikan-Rosenberg. The couple was divorced in 1991 and a court awarded them joint custody of the children.

Pikan-Rosenberg eventually joined a Chasidic group and became Orthodox, after which Dulberg tried to gain full custody.

Pikan-Rosenberg spirited the girls out of Italy and returned to Israel, where she married a fervently Orthodox rabbi.

The girls lived with their mother in a fervently Orthodox community in Israel, until the Supreme Court there ordered them returned to Italy in 1999.

In Italy, a court ruling awarded custody to Dulberg and strictly limited Pikan-Rosenberg’s contact with the girls.

The case, which is still pending, triggered widespread outrage, particularly in the Orthodox world.

Internet postings, Web pages and e-mail campaigns were used to attack the opposing sides in what was described as a “war of the Web sites.”

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