Opinion

Netanyahu's Son Might Be His Downfall

Is Yair Netanyahu, Oedipus the son, inadvertently murdering his father in an attempt to protect him?

Yair Netanyahu.
Tomer Appelbaum

Could it be that Yair Netanyahu’s tweets are part of an attempt by him to escape his fate? And perhaps the latest provocation, too – “Proportions! 24,000 fallen in Israel’s wars – one Memorial Day. Six million Holocaust victims – one Remembrance Day. Rabin assassination – 10 days of commemoration” – should be understood as part of the realization of the tragic prophecy of the Oracle at Delphi? Perhaps his tweets – the cartoon captioned “food chain” featuring George Soros (in which the billionaire philanthropist is seen at the head of an anti-Semitic series of images) and, more recently, the “crude beast” post about Israeli television host Ofira Asayag – should be taken as deep stabs in the flesh of his father? In other words, is it possible that, contrary to appearances, Yair Netanyahu is the worst nightmare of Benjamin Netanyahu?

“Sara talks about him as though he’s the next prime minister.” That quote, from a “senior Likud figure,” appeared two years ago in an article in this paper that tried to divine the character of the prime minister’s elder son (“The Rise of Yair Netanyahu, the 25-year-old who has the Prime Minister’s Ear,” Dec. 5, 2016). Here’s a quote from the full Hebrew version of that article, by Shuki Sadeh: “One avenue for understanding the son’s influence on his father is his mother, Sara Netanyahu. Likud activists call Yair ‘Sara’s son,’ as opposed to [his brother] Avner, whom they describe as ‘Bibi’s son.’ Sources we spoke to mentioned the special relationship Yair has with his mother. Sara Netanyahu is ready to forgo somewhat her influence and her place by the side of the prime minister, only for Yair’s benefit … Yair draws his strength from his mother … Over the years the two have maintained symbiotic relations.”

“Sara’s son”; “special relations”; “only for Yair’s benefit”; “draws his strength from his mother”; “symbiotic relations.” Could it be that, as with the classic Oedipus complex, Yair is in love with mother? And as in the Oedipus complex, he is meant to murder his father? And perhaps as part of an attempt to escape the painful fantasy, the son is summoning up all his strength for the sake of his father? And perhaps, as part of the exaggerated use of force that is meant to prove to his father that he’s the loyal son, Yair is unintentionally, but in actuality, destroying him?

In another article, published more recently in Haaretz, Noa Landau and Chaim Levinson profiled “Netanyahu’s millennials” (March 6, 2018). In it, they write: “Three of the new young advisers from what is known as Netanyahu’s ‘hive’ met during their military service in the Israel Defense Forces Spokesperson’s Office: Netanyahu’s new spokeswoman, Shir Cohen, 26; his office’s digital and new-media adviser, Topaz Luk, 25; and Likud’s new media adviser, Jonatan Urich, 29. All three served in the army spokesperson’s office at the same time as Yair Netanyahu, the prime minister’s son, but were not thought to be his close friends at the time.”

The last two individuals mentioned, at least – and particularly Urich – have become the prime minister’s keyboard goons. Their role in practice is to monitor enemies, sow incitement, project virtual terror and accompany Netanyahu’s every move like a dark, vengeful shadow.

On the surface, they would seem to be having enormous success: The juicy, cruel, viral tweets seem to accord the elder Netanyahu a defensive shield.

But it’s possible that this black noise, which may appear to be a success, will in the future turn out to be a deep abyss; that the militant, wicked, unrestrained culture that seeks to eradicate anyone who speaks out against the Leader, is being internalized in the collective unconscious as a ruinous subversion of the delicate fabric of our shared existence. This ugly language has been imported from all the “young” and “up-to-date” realms: realms similar to those of “the new media coordinator in the Shurat HaDin organization” – i.e., Yair Netanyahu.

Moreover, as noted, all three “served in the army spokesperson’s office at the same time as Yair Netanyahu.” They’re sort of “Yair’s kids.” Is it possible that the assistance the son is giving the father is actually a poison pill? A Trojan horse offered as a gift that turns out to be a calamity?

The sensible Israeli citizen asks himself or herself two questions about Yair Netanyahu:

– Where in the world did he hear all these abominations?

– Why doesn’t Dad rein in the obstreperous lad?

The two answers to those questions are effectively the basis on which parricide is perpetrated:

– He heard them at home.

– Dad apparently agrees with the spirit of his son’s remarks.

To the sensible Israeli citizen, Yair Netanyahu appears to be a toxic, malicious, inciting, divisive, wicked figure. The more time that passes, the more sewage he foists itself upon the Israeli landscape. While the loyal son is certain he’s dropping stink bombs on the enemies, is he also distancing those who are not enemies – Asayag, for example? Is Oedipus the son inadvertently murdering his father in an attempt to protect him? Will the mission be accomplished soon, and he will be able to be united at last with his mother?