The Netanyahu Family’s Dog, Kaya, Dies at 13

The mixed-breed canine spent two years living at the Prime Minister’s Residence and occasionally even made headlines

The Netanyahus and Kaya
PM's facebook page

Kaya, the 13-year-old mixed-breed dog that joined the household of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and family in 2015, died on Monday after being admitted to an animal hospital last month. In the relatively short two and a half years that Kaya lived with the prime minister’s family, she was part of official visits, a law was named after her, she bit several people and there was even publicity about one incident in which her droppings were not picked up.

Eulogizing Kaya in a Facebook post on Monday, the prime minister said: “She brought so much happiness and light into our lives. We learned about what a soul is and about animal awareness from Kaya. We were pleased to provide her a home and family and in the process adding years to her life, and in return, she gave us a lot of happiness.” Netanyahu added: “We would like to take this opportunity to issue a call to anyone who can adopt an older animal: Give them a home and life – and you will get so much warmth and love from them.”

For his part, the prime minister’s son Avner, who returned from abroad to be with Kaya during her last moments, wrote: “Thanks for being the best dog that we could have asked for.”

In the two and a half years that Kaya lived with the Netanyahus, she bit no fewer than four people – Knesset member Sharren Haskel; Or Alon, the husband of Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely; a security guard from the Prime Minister’s Office; and the prime minister himself. As a result, the dog had to be quarantined over her aggression. The issue gave rise to the Kaya Law, which allows dog owners to confine their dogs at home rather than quarantine in a kennel.

Benjamin Netanyahu with his dog Kaya.
Amos Ben Gershom / GPO

Kaya was also the star of endless Facebook posts and video clips, including an on-air clip with American television personality and comedian Conan O’Brien as well as a public spat in which the prime minister’s son Yair was publicly accused on Facebook of not picking up after his dog. In response, Yair Netanyahu posted an emoji with a pile of excrement and an obscene finger.

A considerable number of high-ranking visitors also managed to meet the aging hound, including the secretary of state of the United States at the time, John Kerry, and German President Frank Walter-Steinmeier. Kaya also featured on the satirical Israeli television show “Eretz Nehederet” (“A Wonderful Country”).

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says goodbye to deceased pet KayaPrime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Facebook page

It’s not clear whether the Netanyahu family will be adopting another dog.