Netanyahu's Son Files Libel Countersuit Against Left-wing Organization

Yair Netanyahu says Molad 'crossed red lines' in Facebook post. Molad welcomes the suit: 'Rare opportunity to reveal what Yair Netanyahu really does in the prime minister’s bureau'

Yair Netanyahu, the son of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, at the official Jerusalem residence of the Israeli prime minister
Marc Israel Sellem

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s son has filed a libel suit against a left-wing organization to counter the libel suit it filed against him.

Yair Netanyahu’s suit, filed with the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court Monday, seeks 140,000 shekels ($40,000) in compensation from Molad – The Center for the Renewal of Israeli Democracy.

The suit is based on a post which appeared on Molad’s Facebook page in July under the title, “Five things you didn’t know about the crown prince, Yair Netanyahu.”

The post said that Netanyahu doesn’t work for a living, lives off the taxpayers’ money and has a round-the-clock bodyguard. It also discussed his ties with Australian businessman James Packer, including that he has flown overseas on Packer’s tab. The post also said that that the younger Netanyahu’s “views are associated with the extreme right.”

The suit charges that the the post was “accompanied by a denigrating and embarrassing picture” which depicted Netanyahu, 25, dressed like a clown with a crown on his head.

The suit said the post was “misleading and distorted,” intended to damage Netanyahu’s reputation, and demonstrated Molad’s “powerful and burning hate for Netanyahu and its effort to hurt and humiliate him at any price.” Molad, it added, “crossed red lines, and the truth doesn’t interest it at all.”

Molad countered that the suit was an aggressive attempt to silence the organization.

“We’d like to take this opportunity to inform them that not only are we not frightened, but we welcome the suit, because it gives us a rare opportunity to reveal, through the discovery process, what Yair Netanyahu really does in the prime minister’s bureau, how much Israeli citizens are paying for his security while he travels around the world, and the true nature of his ties with James Packer, who is also a key figure in the prime minister’s corruption case,” Molad said in a statement.

“Moreover, we read in the suit that Yair Netanyahu’s lawyers say we’ve harmed his livelihood,” it added. “Perhaps now we’ll finally discover what that is.”

Molad’s suit against Netanyahu, which also sought 140,000 shekels in damages, was filed in August over a Facebook post he wrote in response to Molad’s “five things” post. Netanyahu’s post termed Molad “a radical, anti-Zionist organization” and said it was funded by the New Israel Fund. Molad denies both accusations.

Yair Netanayahu, the older of Netanyahu's two sons, has been in a source of controvesry lately. In September, for example, the Israeli office of the Anti-Defamation League denounced a Facebook post he published which included anti-Semitic themes. Following pushback from the public he removed it from his Facebook page.