Ne­tanyahu son un­der fire for crude on­line post

Austin American-Statesman - - NATION/WORLD - By Aron Heller

Since be­com­ing an adult, the el­dest son of Is­raeli Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu has re­peat­edly drawn me­dia crit­i­cism for what has been por­trayed as a life of priv­i­lege at tax­pay­ers’ ex­pense.

Yair Ne­tanyahu, 26, has been de­scribed as some­one who hob­nobs with world lead­ers and en­joys a state­funded body­guard, while liv­ing at the prime min­is­ter’s of­fi­cial res­i­dence.

But his re­cent be­hav­ior, in­clud­ing a crude so­cial me­dia post, has now drawn pub­lic re­buke from the chil­dren of a for­mer Is­raeli leader, along with threats of a li­bel suit. It has also re­vived crit­i­cism of the Ne­tanyahu fam­ily’s per­ceived he­do­nism and sense of en­ti­tle­ment, at a time when the prime min­is­ter faces mul­ti­ple cor­rup­tion al­le­ga­tions.

Is­raeli po­lice on Thurs­day dis­closed that Ne­tanyahu is sus­pected of fraud, breach of trust and bribes in a pair of cases, just as his son was be­ing pil­lo­ried in the press.

The younger Ne­tanyahu hit the tabloids last week­end when a neigh­bor posted an ac­count of how he re­fused to pick up af­ter the Ne­tanyahu fam­ily dog at a pub­lic park and then, when con­fronted, gave the neigh­bor the fin­ger.

Yair Ne­tanyahu then lashed out on Face­book at a web­site run by a lib­eral think tank that de­tailed what it said was his lav­ish life­style at tax­pay­ers’ ex­pense.

In the post, Ne­tanyahu al­leged the site is funded by what he claimed are for­eign in­ter­ests, re­fer­ring in­di­rectly to the dovish New Is­rael Fund, which he re­named the “Is­rael De­struc­tion Fund.” He signed the post with emo­jis of a mid­dle fin­ger and a pile of ex­cre­ment.

Avner In­bar, the chair­man of the Mo­lad or­ga­ni­za­tion that runs the site, said they had served the younger Ne­tanyahu with a no­tice of in­tent to sue if he does not re­tract his com­ments. He said Mo­lad stopped re­ceiv­ing money from the NIF last year and that the posts “had no iota of truth to them.”

He also said their item on Yair Ne­tanyahu was the most vi­ral in their four years on­line and viewed by 1.25 mil­lion Is­raelis.

“It’s prob­a­bly be­cause his an­tics have just irked so many Is­raelis,” said In­bar. “It’s not just that he lives off the tax­pay­ers in an un­prece­dented fash­ion but that he thinks he be­longs to the royal fam­ily and is there­fore im­mune from crit­i­cism. He thinks he is above the peo­ple.”

The New Is­rael Fund noted that Yair Ne­tanyahu posted the com­ments on Tisha B’Av, the day Jews mourn the de­struc­tion of their bib­li­cal Tem­ples, brought upon by in­ter­nal di­vi­sions and ha­tred.

“On this day ... it would be ap­pro­pri­ate for the prime min­is­ter to ed­u­cate his son to spread the love of Is­rael,” the fund said in a state­ment.

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