A Jerusalem District Court has ordered a haredi caricaturist who sketched an anti-enlistment poster to apologize to haredi soldiers.
The man, Avishai Hannania, painted a derogatory poster calling haredim who enlisted "light of judgment." The court's ruling came in response to a lawsuit filed by Menahem Strauber, a haredi soldier who received death threats and was even attacked for serving in the IDF.
The story was first revealed last June and in the lawsuit Strauber demanded NIS 30,000 ($8,580) in compensation to what he claimed was incitement.
According to Strauber, the caricature which Hannania drew was incitement not just against himself but also against the hundreds of haredim already serving in the IDF.
His lawyers presented as evidence a poster in which haredi soldiers were presented as 'hardakim' (an acronym for a light of judgment haredi) "as chasing haredi children while holding a rifle."
In his defense, Hannania claimed the poster was a commissioned work which he did not intend to be derogatory. He further claimed the advertisers who ordered the project later manipulated the caricature against his will and knowledge.
He also claimed that after he learnt about the change he demanded they stop publishing the image, but his request were ignored. He stressed he has no issue with IDF soldiers and was evening willing to make a donation for their benefit.
As part of a compromise agreed on by both sides, the court decided that Hannania would meet with the IDF's haredi ombudsman and then write a letter of apology which will be sent to all the relevant units.
The court also ruled that Hannania would transfer the images' copyright to Strauber so the latter can sue any person making use of the image.
Source close to Strauber said Wednesday that he did not file the lawsuit in an attempt to profit financially from the incident but rather to stop incitement against haredi soldiers which law enforcement authorities are reluctant to stop.
"It is absurd that in the State of Israel such an incitement campaign is being raged against IDF soldiers while the authorities stand by and do nothing," Strauber told family members, and promised: "Who ever will publish this image will be sued immediately."