Sami Shamoon may have promised the land, but it shall remain in the possession of Yachin Hakal

Ruth Tal Field Crops Ltd. failed to prove that the late Sami Shamoon, who held ownership of Yachin, had given it an oral promise that it could use the land until construction commenced on it

17.11.16| Dotan Levy

The Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court dismissed a lawsuit filed by Ruth Tal Field Crops Ltd. against Yachin Hakal, concerning land between the Morasha Junction near Ramat Hasharon, and the Geha Interchange on Highway 4. According to the plaintiff, the late businessman Sami Shamoon, who owned Yachin Hakal, made a commitment to it that as long as no construction commenced on the site, the lease would continue under the agreement between the parties, but Yachin forcibly evicted it from the site and caused it losses.

Yachin Hakal holds the land by virtue of an agreement with the Israel Lands Administration. In 2004 it signed a three-year agreement with Ruth Tal, under which it would rent the land for farming use. At the end of the period the agreement was extended for one year.

In June 2009, Yachin sent a letter to Ruth Tal, demanding that it vacate the area so that a citrus grove could be planted there. The plaintiff did not vacate the land and subsequently Yachin itself evicted it. Consequently, Ruth Tal filed a lawsuit for 810 thousand shekels, claiming that Yachin had taken the land from it by force: it foreclosed on the bank guarantee and all of its irrigation equipment was dismantled and thrown away. It also claimed that following the eviction from the land it had been denied a profit for seven growing seasons.

Through attorneys Ori Primo and Shahar Oshri of law firm Hamburger Evron, Yachin Hakal argued that the contract between the parties was clear and limited in time, and that the claim that Shamoon had promised them they could work the land until such time as construction works were to begin on the site was unfounded.

Judge Ronit Pinchuk-Alt accepted Yachin Hakal’s arguments in full, and ruled that Ruth Tal had not brought any evidence to support its claim: “The alleged promise was raised late, was not proven even by an iota of evidence, and there is nothing to support it.”

This is not the first case in which it is claimed that Sami Shamoon made promises. Shortly after his death in 2009, his right-hand man, Peretz Winkler, claimed that Shamoon had promised him 12.5% of the shares in the company that holds Yachin Hakal, and four years later he ran a high-profile dispute on the matter against Shamoon’s widow.