Netanyahu's Son Says Israeli Leader 'Entertained' by Mass Protests Against Him

Images of 'aliens' demonstrating outside his residence in Jerusalem 'give him strength,' the prime minister's son says in an interview, later saying he was referring only to those in costume

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Haaretz
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Protesters dressed up in costumes outside the prime minister's official residence in Jerusalem, August 1, 2020.
Protesters dressed up in costumes outside the prime minister's official residence in Jerusalem, August 1, 2020.Credit: Ohad Zwigenberg
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Haaretz

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s son Yair said Monday that his father laughs at pictures of “aliens” demonstrating against him. “He sees the sights that all of us see, of these aliens,” Yair Netanyahu said in an interview with Galei Israel Radio, a West Bank-based Israeli station. “It makes him laugh. It’s like entertainment.”

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The prime minister’s son elaborated: “Sometimes I show him several select clips, try not [to show] the cruder things at the protests, because it’s still not pleasant. It entertains him. It even gives him a bit of strength.”

The younger Netanyahu, who holds no official post, has become known for making controversial comments, particularly on social media.

On Twitter, Yair Netanyahu attempted to clarify his remarks, saying that the demonstrators to whom he was referring were the ones in costume. “I meant the ones who dressed up as aliens and UFOs, the ones who dressed up, the ones who dressed up as sex organs, the ones who waved signs with crude content, the ones who put spaghetti pots on their heads or who dressed up as Spiderman,” he tweeted. “There are so many of them and it’s funny.”

What is not funny, the prime minister’s son said, is what he termed “the incitement and the explicit calls for murder that are growing at the anarchist left-wing demonstrations from day to day and breaking new records with non-stop media encouragement. I still hope the media condemns this incitement.”

Benjamin Netanyahu, second from left, and his son Yair, left, pose for a photo in Tel Aviv ahead of the World Holocaust Forum, January 2020.
Benjamin Netanyahu, second from left, and his son Yair, left, pose for a photo in Tel Aviv ahead of the World Holocaust Forum, January 2020. Credit: Aleksey Nikolskyi/Sputnik Kremlin Pool Photo via AP, File

In response, the Black Flag movement, which has been among the groups leading the protests against the prime minister, said: “A million unemployed make him laugh, citizens who are dying from an epidemic amuse him.”

Referring to the criminal cases against the prime minister, the statement added: “In the defendant’s family, we’re even not human beings – [just] aliens. This isn’t a prime minister. This is a defendant for whom the distress of his people is amusing. The demonstrations will continue to grow until he resigns.”

On Sunday, Prime Minister Netanyahu said that Israeli media is fueling the country's anti-government protests at "North Korean levels" and that the demonstrations are themselves are "an attempt to trample democracy," a day after more than 10,000 protesters showed up outside his official residence in Jerusalem.

Demonstrators are protesting the government's response to the coronavirus outbreak and the ensuing economic crisis, that has left many Israelis jobless, while also demanding that Netanyahu, who faces criminal indictments in three corruption cases, resign. Some groups are also protesting police brutality and the occupation.

Also on Sunday, the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court ordered Yair Netanyahu to delete a previous tweet from his account in which he published personal details of protest leaders and called for members of the public to go to their homes. The judge in the case also ordered the prime minister’s son to “refrain from harassing” the protest leaders who had filed a request for a restraining order “in any shape or form” for six months.

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