Shas Leader: Woe Is Us if Netanyahu's Son Is Dating Norwegian

Ultra-Orthodox leaders, including Aryeh Deri, lament report that Yair Netanyahu is in a relationship with Norwegian national Sandra Leikanger.

The purported romance between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's son and a Norwegian woman continued to make waves on Monday, as ultra-Orthodox politicians lamented the report.

In an interview on the ultra-Orthodox radio station Kol Barama, Shas chairman Aryeh Deri reacted to the report that Yair Netanyahu, 23, is dating Norwegian Sandra Leikanger, 25. She is not Jewish, according to Israeli media outlets.

"Woe is us if it is true," Deri said. "If it is true, he [the prime minister] and Sara have a great heartache."

Deri told the interviewer that the criticism was not an attack against the premier, but rather an issue of national concern. "I try not to raise personal criticism, but if, heaven forbid, this is true, it is no longer a personal matter – it is a symbol of the Jewish people."

The Shas leader went on to describe the great efforts being made to prevent assimilation, saying, "I have friends who invest tens of millions, hundreds of millions to fight assimilation throughout the world. If, heaven forbid, this is true, woe is us. I hope it is not true."

Other religious politicians came out against the reported relationship, including hardline Likud MK Moshe Feiglin and other members of Shas.

The Israeli organization Lehava, which says it aims "to prevent assimilation in the Holy Land," urged Netanyahu "to prevent this relationship" on its Facebook page, AFP reported.

"Your grandchildren, as you know, will not be Jewish," Lehava director Bentzi Gopshtain warned Netanyahu in the post.

Oren Nahshon