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Supreme Court Rules: Author Naomi Ragen Innocent of All Plagiarism and Copyright Infringement in Tal Case

The Supreme Court of Israel accepted the appeal of author Naomi Ragen for a verdict in the case brought against her by Michal Tal after the Jerusalem District Court vacated the case following Tal’s death. The verdict on Tuesday by Chief Justice Beinish and  Justices Gronis and Arbel, accepted the agreement reached by Ragen and Tal’s heirs, rejecting Tal’s case, stating that “There is not and never was any basis whatsoever for any claim of plagiarism or copyright infringement brought against Naomi Ragen in the Jerusalem District Court.”

In 2007, Tal’s lawyer, Gilad Corinaldi, sent Ragen a letter in which he demanded that Ragen “pay my client, in light of the copyright violation and the profits you have made from this which have illegally enriched you, a more than appropriate sum of money..You have five days of grace (from the receipt of this letter until Monday 19 March 2007) to take the above actions. If you do not comply with these demands, my client will take the following actions: apply to the courts for injunctions against you and the three publishers who market and sell your books to remove the books from the bookstores (Steimatsky and others stores); sue you for millions of shekels (the sum has not yet been fixed); publicize your copyright violations on a special internet site and also issue a press release to all the media in Israel and especially outside Israel in order to give your readers an opportunity to judge for themselves the act of plagiarism you committed.

Your fate is in your hands. Your good name and the future of your works hang in the balance.” [emphasis in the original]

Ragen, who maintained throughout that she had never seen Tal’s book, refused to pay up.

In an ex parte session of the Jerusalem District Court convened without Ragen’s knowledge, Tal demanded immediate injunctions removing The Ghost of Hannah Mendes from the bookstores, even though her claims related to books that had been published a decade earlier. She filed a one million dollar lawsuit; and publicized her claims in the press and on the internet. Tal claimed the ex-parte session was required because it was impossible to contact Ragen and obtained injunctions instructing Ragen and her publisher to remove her books from the bookstores. Tal filed a lawsuit for NIS 4.25 million and publicized her claims in the weekend press and on the internet. Tal later testified that she knew her lawyer had in fact called Ragen on her cell phone two days earlier (and spoken to her husband) and that he had received a reply from Ragen’s lawyers the day before the ex parte session. Despite holding a Masters degree in Hebrew Literature from Tel Aviv University, Tal claimed that she had not understood the affidavits her lawyers had told her to sign.

During the trial, Ragen presented evidence that she had submitted her book, The Ghost of Hannah Mendes, to her publisher months before Tal self-published her novel in England with a vanity press. The “mutual friend” who Tal claimed had given Ragen a copy of her book testified that she had never done so. A forty-page book of similarities compiled by Tal was shown to contain texts deliberately reworded to give the appearance of plagiarism. In her testimony, Tal blamed these inaccuracies on typographical errors made by her lawyers.

The decision also states that “Tal sincerely believed at the time in the justice of her claims.”

“Tal’s claims were delusional,” said Ragen, “but the travesties and suffering I endured for five years over this frivolous case were very real.

“It has been a truly horrifying experience for me and my family. I am immensely pleased that justice has been finally been served and that the truth has come out in this case.  It is my hope and belief that just as the truth has come to light in this case,   I will eventually be fully exonerated in the other cases against me.”

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7 comments on “Supreme Court Rules: Author Naomi Ragen Innocent of All Plagiarism and Copyright Infringement in Tal Case”

  1. Pingback: Naomi Ragen Wins A Second Plagiarism Suit in the Supreme Court - Naomi Ragen נעמי רגן - Novelist, Playwright and Journalist

  2. Jacqueline Reckseit

    I am very glad that you finally received justice. But as you note, there is no justice for the travesty of the five years of anguish and legal costs that you endured. There is something wrong with the system of law practiced in the US and Israel that allows completely unfounded and substantiated accusations to go forward for five years. Anyone can sue for anything and you are forced to defend yourself at great mental and financial cost. I don’t believe it was the intent of our justice systems, but as they operate now it is only to the benefit of the legal profession.

  3. Rachel Stern


    I had followed your case up to the point at which the court upheld Tal’s claims. I was shocked because I had read both your book and hers and compared the parts she claimed were plagiarized and saw no evidence of plagiarism. I was further shocked when upon discussing your case with my daughter, she informed me that her teacher from Bar Ilan was one of the experts who concluded that it was plagiarism. I told my daughter that I thought he’d made a grave mistake, that it could not be. However, your exoneration of the charges in January must not have been publicized well enough because I had no idea of this later development. I am very happy for you to read this and hope this has been the end of your problems with the Tal family.

  4. Jane Singer

    Me too!!! I didn’t pay much attention to details, but I realize now I’d assumed Naomi was guilty of plagiarism without too much thinking, just from an article in the Jerusalem Post. Isn’t that awful! Once again I am sorely disappointed in the Israel court system. Please accept my apologies Naomi.

  5. Robby


    I don’t know you but I apologize.

    I apologize for judging you based on accusations in the courts and in the press.

    Mazal tov and I hope you win the other case as well.

    (Of course if you dont…)


  6. Keren Burdt

    Mazal Tov on your legal victory! I hope and pray for a similar outcome in the other pending case. My thoughts and prayers are with you! Still a fan!

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