Netanyahu’s Son Calls Senior Likud Minister ‘A Rapist,’ Report Says

Gideon Sa'ar, a rival of the prime minister at the top of the party, says he rejects 'with great disgust the unbelievable and contemptible lies' bent on damaging him politically

Yair Netanyahu in 2018.
Moti Milrod

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s son Yair has said that police investigations into him were “an unacceptable disgrace” and that Gideon Sa’ar, the prime minister’s rival at the top of the Likud party, is “a rapist who got his rape victim a job,” Channel 12 News reported Tuesday night.

Sa’ar responded by saying that “if the report is correct, I reject with great disgust the unbelievable and contemptible lies with which Yair Netanyahu has tried to falsely accuse me in his testimony to the police. This is further testimony to the uninhibited, years-long campaign of spreading tall tales against me with the goal of slandering my name and hurting me politically. As in the past, it won't succeed.”

Yair Netanyahu also responded to the Channel 12 report, saying that “the use of criminal and biased leaks from the Yair Netanyahu investigation, in which the case against him was closed, is the continuation of a hunt against him and against the Netanyahu family, and an ugly attempt to disgrace him.”

The younger Netanyahu harshly criticized the investigators who questioned him, saying they know “the story with Gideon Sa’ar, but you’re not investigating him because that’s not interesting.”

The investigation is part of the police’s Case 4000 in which the prime minister is suspected of taking steps to benefit Bezeq telecommunications shareholder Shaul Elovitch in return for favorable coverage on Bezeq’s Walla news site.

Gideon Sa'ar at the swearing-in ceremony of the 22nd Knesset in Jerusalem, October 3, 2019.
Olivier Fitoussi

One of the prime minister’s main defenses in the case is the claim that Nir Hefetz, a former Netanyahu-family media adviser who turned state’s evidence, had wanted to get closer to Elovitch so he could promote his own business initiatives, and that Netanyahu was unaware of these plans.

When asked about Hefetz, Yair Netanyahu said “One: filth. Two: A really, really bad spokesman,” Channel 12 reported.

According to the report, the younger Netanyahu told investigators he heard that Hefetz had “killed a soldier and dragged his body along train tracks to damage it so that they wouldn’t know he killed him. That’s the great example you’re depending on. A masterpiece.”

The investigators asked the younger Netanyahu if Hefetz was a confidant of the family, and he responded that his family doesn’t trust anyone who isn’t a family member, Channel 12 said.

It said the investigators had evidence showing that Yair Netanyahu knew about favors that Elovitch allegedly received from the Communications Ministry, and that Yair even pressured Elovitch.

According to Channel 12, Yair Netanyahu called this “a blood libel. It’s a fact that this didn’t happen, and we just got screwed. This is a lie and a falsehood, a blood libel that really infuriates me.”

According to Channel 12, when Yair was asked if he was involved in articles that Walla published, or spoke to its journalists, he said he spoke to no one “from this whole garbage group.”

Channel 12 said that Yair requested to speak at the beginning of his questioning and claimed that “there hasn’t been a single search for justice” in the investigation. When asked about the suspicions against him, he reportedly said “unbelievable, a witch hunt, spilling blood. And Stasi. Gestapo. A police state. Mafia. Sorry, you’re not acting like the mafia, because the mafia doesn’t get women and children involved. An unacceptable disgrace.”

According to Channel 12, investigators asked Yair if there were ever times when he had to be silenced, and he responded: “Do you think that someone who works with my father has dared to silence me? A missile would fly at him right that second.”

According to the report, Yair also said during questioning that a person who should be questioned is Tzipi Livni, the Likud defector and former senior minister who retired from politics in February.

“She got dozens of articles every day in Yedioth Ahronoth and Ynet; they kissed her ass,” he reportedly said, claiming that she had ties to Arnon Mozes, the publisher of the daily Yedioth and its Ynet website.

In the police’s Case 2000, Benjamin Netanyahu is suspected of striking a deal with Mozes for favorable coverage in Yedioth in exchange for legislation curtailing rival daily Israel Hayom.