Fighting Discrimination Against Russian-Born Israelis
Earlier this year, NIF grantee Israel Hofsheet (Be Free Israel) exposed the unjust dismissal of Yuri Logbinanko, a Russian-born employee of the Johananoff supermarket’s Rehovot branch. Now, the supermarket chain is suing the organization for alleged libel.
Logbinanko, an experienced chef, had been suspended and then fired after the supermarket’s kashrut supervisor doubted his Jewish status and forbade Logbinanko from managing the meat counter. This decision was made even though Logbinanky had previously worked as a chef in a yeshiva and he had documentation proving that his mother is Jewish. After Israel Hofsheet’s intervention, Logbinanko was reinstated, but given other duties. He was eventually fired when he insisted on managing the meat counter.
Johananoff says that Logbinanko was fired for purely professional reasons, and claims that Israel Hofsheet’s campaign besmirched its good name. A spokesman for the chain said, “The chain’s lawsuit against Israel Hofsheet was submitted after its nasty social media campaign based on a report on Channel 12 News three months ago. Israel Hofsheet’s campaign was designed to harm our good name and slander us.”
Israel Hofsheet (Be Free Israel) Executive Director Uri Keidar said, “When Johananoff writes in the first sentence of its lawsuit that this is not a suit to silence, everybody understands that that is exactly what the suit is. It aims to stop Israel Hofsheet from fighting the just war for Yuri who was fired from his job after the contemptuous and humiliating behaviour of the chain. Unfortunately, the Johananoff chain continues its bullying behaviour instead of taking responsibility for its actions and correcting them. We will respond in court and will be happy to conduct full court proceedings.”