Yair Netanyahu Sues Former Driver for Secretly Taping Strip Club Conversation

The suit by the prime minister’s son seeks $270,000 from the driver, Roy Rosen, for violation of privacy, defamation and eavesdropping

Yair Netanyahu, Petach Tikva, June 5, 2018
Tomer Appelbaum

One of the prime minister’s sons, Yair Netanyahu, filed suit on Sunday against his driver, who secretly recorded him talking with friends about a strip club and then sold the recording to the media.

Yair Netanyahu is seeking one million shekels ($270,000) from Roy Rosen, who at the time was working as a driver for the Prime Minister’s Residence. The suit alleges a violation of privacy, defamation and eavesdropping.

“The plaintiff [Yair Netanyahu] is not a public figure, and he never chose a position of his own accord that involves a loss of privacy and anonymity,” the suit states. “Under these special circumstances, the obligation of confidentiality and loyalty owed him by the people who provide services to [him] is many times greater. Such people must do everything in their power to give the plaintiff a sense of security and let him conduct himself in a natural manner, as he would have had they not been at his side.”

Rosen’s violation of the duty of confidentiality not only greatly harmed Yair Netanyahu, but also “the interests of the entire Israeli public,” the suit alleges, because “the loss of faith in the services provided by the State of Israel among the people who require those services for their jobs might cause great harm to national security.”

According to the lawsuit, the conversation that Rosen recorded took place on the night of July 31, 2015, when Yair Netanyahu and two friends were on a night out in Tel Aviv. The prime minister’s son had already had several drinks at that point, the suit said.

Though Rosen was present when the conversation took place, he wasn’t a party to it and therefore had no legal right to record it, much less sell it to the Israel Television News Company, which aired it in January 2018, the lawsuit stated. The recording of the conversation “damaged the plaintiff’s reputation” and “caused him to be scorned, hated and mocked by millions of people,” it said.

This is the third defamation suit that Yair Netanyahu has filed. The first was against social activist Abie Binyamin. The second was a countersuit filed in response to a defamation suit against him filed by the left-wing think tank Molad.

This is also the second lawsuit filed against Rosen for recording and selling the conversation. The first was filed by his employer at the time, Modiin Ezrachi, for violating his employment contract.

As Haaretz reported last month, that suit resulted in an out-of-court settlement the terms of which have not been disclosed, aside from the fact that it included an apology and admission of liability by Rosen. Modiin Ezrachi had originally sought 250,000 shekels in damages for breach of a contractual duty of confidentiality.