Analysis

Maybe Yairs Tape Will Hasten His Dad to Criminalize the Clients of Prostitutes

What will it take to speed up the advancement of legislation to criminalize the clients of prostitution and the rehabilitation of those working in prostitution?

Sex workers in Tel Aviv, Israel.
Ilan Assayag

The recording in which Yair Netanyahu, the son of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is shown having an alcohol-fueled night on the town, going from one strip club to another with his friends, accompanied by a government bodyguard and using the luxury car paid for by taxpayers – revealed the mere tip of the vulgar and embarrassing discourse that objectifies women and the close connection between strippers and the prostitution industry.

Netanyahu family lawyer Yossi Cohen tried to diminish the disgrace and define it as: Things that were said in jest two-and-half years ago by young people drinking alcohol, but the truth is that Netanyahu Jr. expressed himself like the worst of the johns on the online forum of prostitution clients, and exposed the public to the shameful, humiliating and objectifying talk about women in general and prostitutes in particular; talk that continues and often delights in the exploitation that takes place in strip clubs even after the speakers have left.

For example, a stripper was explicitly referred to by the prime ministers son as a whore (that was for the whore, he said). Exposed was the preoccupation with the boasting of the money spent on lap dancing and in the club on strippers (which often lines the pockets of crime organizations), the arrogant reference to the strippers phone numbers and the suggestion to load a waitress, using another term. In other words, all those present in a strip club are considered prostitutes who can be coaxed, bought, and slept with.

In the heat of the conversation Netanyahu Jr. even proposed to his friend, Ori Maimon, that he arrange his former girlfriend for him, and wondered out loud like a typical pimp whether he should set her up with everyone, while considering how much money he could make out of it (I could pay all my debts).

The nausea at Netanyahus words is exacerbated given the exploitation that takes place at strip clubs, the contempt for the women and the damage done to women trapped in that world. Just last week there was a debate by the Knesset subcommittee on trafficking in prostitutes entitled Strip Clubs – Prostitution in Disguise.

During the discussion it was noted that State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan had told Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan that he would examine defining lap dancing as an act of prostitution – the same dancing that Netanyahu Jr. got from a stripper, paid for by his friend Maimon (I poured it on you and on him; every second I said, Go dance on him, I put her to dance on you, bro). The discussion closed with remarks by committee chairman MK Aliza Lavie, who said, Strip clubs are nothing but a cover for the prostitution industry that conducts itself in the shadows, and we are obligated to consider a change in policy on the issue, in terms of both enforcement and legislation.

Its important to clarify that stripping is very often a gateway to prostitution. The profile of women who work as strippers is no different that that of those caught up in prostitution – young women most of whom have a background of sexual abuse who are in financial distress and are often in various stages of drug addiction.

At a time when the issue of the security arrangements for the prime ministers children has come up for discussion, it would behoove us to debate whether we as a society are meant to finance the dubious and scandalous recreational activities of Netanyahu Jr., which often fill the coffers of crime organizations? Are public funds meant to be diverted to securing the prime ministers son in a strip club?

Netanyahus documented night out in strip clubs and the objectifying language exposes the deep rot of the flashy and fatuous conduct and the degradation of Yair Netanyahu to the general public. MK Oren Hazan (Likud), who was exposed in a television news investigative report of running a casino in Burgas, Bulgaria, allegedly arranged for customers hard drugs and women working in prostitution, tried to clear his name when he sponsored a bill in April calling to completely ban the procurement of prostitution and give those harmed by prostitution the initial tools for rehabilitation with their entry into one of the recovery frameworks.

Maybe. the embarrassing documentation of Yair Netanyahu will actually cause the prime minister to speed up the advancement of legislation to criminalize the clients of prostitution and the rehabilitation of those working in prostitution, which has been held up and frozen in the offices of Justice minister Ayelet Shaked.