Analysis

When David Duke Agrees With Netanyahu's Son: As Probes Intensify, the Prime Minister and His Family Lose Control

Netanyahu, the self-proclaimed leader of the Jewish people, stays silent as his son flirts with anti-Semitic ideas

Sara Netanyahu and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, with son Yair in the background, March 2017.
Sara Netanyahu and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, with son Yair in the background, March 2017. Amos Ben Gershom / GPO

Sara Netanyahu, who is facing fraud and breach of trust charges (subject to a hearing) for allegedly spending 359,000 shekels ($102,000) of public funds on lavish meals for her family and friends, is, according to the Prime Minister’s Office statement, “an expert educational psychologist.”

But if she’s such an expert, how come her eldest son, Yair, came out, how can we put it, a little problematic?

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Over the weekend, the embarrassment frequently caused by the eldest Netanyahu son to the prime minister’s residence exceeded what one could expect from a spoilt, uneducated, entitled, rude young man. What began a few months ago with the excrement of Kaya the family dog being left on the sidewalk is quickly deteriorating into a national, even international disgrace.

Yair Netanyahu's meme.
Screenshot from Facebook

After the neo-Nazi demonstration in Charlottesville last month, which ended with the death of a left-wing female protester, Netanyahu Jr. – “Hun,” as he calls himself on his Facebook page – published a post that actually equated the racists and anti-Semites with those demonstrating against them.

If we thought, or hoped, it was a one-time blip, Friday’s post proved that the lad – whose father presents him proudly to world leaders as “the best election strategist in Israel,” and for whom he plans a bright future in domestic politics – enjoys flirting with anti-Semitic ideas.

By Saturday night we still hadn’t heard a word from Yair’s father, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The premier will give a speech in about 10 days at the UN General Assembly. He will probably denounce, justly, displays of anti-Semitism in the world – as he does every year. With the mileage he makes on Iran’s leaders’ Holocaust denial, you could circle the Earth twice.

So, has he asked his son to take the post down? To apologize? To attribute sharing a cartoon showing the Jewish billionaire George Soros as leader of the world to a hacker who has taken over his account?

Yair is 26. He and his brother are usually described by their mother as “children.” She is described, among her other qualities, as a working woman, etc.; as “a mother who looks after her children.” Well, if they are children, please teach them how to behave. If you have any expertise – please show it. (It must be noted that everything written here in the plural refers only to Yair, not to his brother who is a few years younger.)

“The leader of the Jewish people,” as Netanyahu calls himself, didn’t denounce the garbage that spewed from his son’s keyboard. Maybe he wanted to, and Sara, the “expert,” wouldn’t let him. It’s commonly known that the wife and elder son control the father to a large extent. A man like him, with a developed historic consciousness and unlimited education, surely understands what the significance of such a cartoon is for Jews worldwide. But he’s keeping mum.

No one, not even the prime minister’s sworn rivals, would want to believe that Yair hears these kinds of things around the dinner table when the family members sit together, bending over their food trays. But in these troubled times, nothing can be ruled out. Every hallucination turns into reality here.

One example: When David Duke, Holocaust denier and former Ku Klux Klan leader, tweets in agreement with the post of the Israeli prime minister’s son, this is an event that nobody, no matter how disturbed they may be, could have imagined.

The anti-Semitic post, as expected, drew an internet storm. Someone even suggested that Netanyahu intentionally caused it in order to draw the media's attention away from his mother. Among those who weighed in was Ehud Barak, who said the state should hire a psychiatrist instead of security guards and a driver for Netanyahu Jr. The latter struck back, saying that Barak is likely "drunk on whiskey," and may need a geriatric physician.  

Here's free advice for Barak: You're a former prime minister. You, unlike the dwellers of the official residence in Jerusalem, have no reason to be dragged into the madness that has possessed them. Surely it isn't appropriate for someone of your stature to respond to "Hun." Former prime ministers should face off with current prime ministers. 

What is happening in the official residence on Balfour Street is a total loss of senses, nothing less. The son’s posts are partial evidence of what is going on there, as the police investigations deepen and as the ring tightens around the prime minister and his wife.

No satirist would have crafted such delusional responses as those served to us daily courtesy of the residential wing. On his Facebook page, Israel’s prime minister looks like his wife’s submissive helper. In his speeches, as we’ve often witnessed at Likud events, Netanyahu descends to an embarrassing low – to Oren Hazan level.

He doesn’t hesitate to spread lies, exaggerations, rumors and libel, all directed at the lowest possible denominator in the Israeli public. The worse his and his wife’s legal situation becomes, the more extreme he gets. It appears the prime minister has lost control not only of his family members, but of himself too.