Yair Netanyahu to Speak at AIPAC Youth Reception in Washington

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FILE Photo: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with his wife Sara and son Yair at Mount Herzl on October 9, 2017.
FILE Photo: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with his wife Sara and son Yair at Mount Herzl on October 9, 2017.Credit: Amos Ben Gershom

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AIPAC will host a reception for “young leaders” with Yair Netanyahu, the son of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, during this year’s policy conference. The reception was not announced publicly, but the young Netanyahu tweeted about it on Saturday night in response to journalists who asked why he was joining his father’s trip to Washington.

Following his tweet, an AIPAC official confirmed to Haaretz that the “informal” event will indeed take place at this year’s conference. The official did not reply to follow-up questions such as in what capacity Netanyahu will address the group or if AIPAC has ever before invited the child of an Israeli prime minister to speak at one of its events. 

Yair Netanyahu has drawn media attention for both inflammatory comments on social media on several occasions. 

In December, Facebook blocked his account for 24 hours after he shared previously banned content. The social media site had removed a post by the prime minister's son in which he called for "avenging the deaths" of Israeli soldiers killed by Palestinian gunmen. Facebook also deleted a post in which Netanyahu said he would "prefer" if "all the Muslims leave the land of Israel."

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He also used Facebook to call left-wing organizations and politicians "traitors who always side with the enemy and always against Jewish interests."

In September 2017, neo-Nazi blogger Andrew Anglin praised Netanyahu for sharing a meme, captioned "the food chain," featuring an image of Jewish billionaire philanthropist George Soros dangling a globe. The image was a meme suggesting that Soros controlled the world –  a popular belief among neo-Nazis and white supremacists – altered to include photos of figures involved in corruption probes against the prime minister to imply that Soros was behind the investigations.

The Facebook page from which Yair shared the meme, whose Hebrew name means “Running Memes Against Leftist CuckyHomoShit,” was subsequently taken down

"I stand with Yair and his memes," Anglin told an Israeli channel, "and I'm glad to see that there's an alt-right in Israel who are standing against the corrosive influence in the West of the Jewish people."

A month before that, soon after a white nationalist rammed his car into protesters in Charlottesville, killing one, the prime minister's son posted on Facebook that he was more concerned with left-wing "thugs," saying that neo-Nazis "belong to the past."

Some aspects of Yair Netanyahu's personal life have also drawn attention.

Last January, a recording was leaked in which Yair joked about prostitutes and favors his father allegedly did for energy tycoon Kobi Maimon, whose son was also present, as they traveled from one strip club to another. 

“My dad set up $20 billion for your dad, and you’re fighting with me about 400 shekels [about $115]?” said Yair in the 2015 recording of the conversation with his friend. Netanyahu said later in the recording that the 400 shekels were for a prostitute.

More recently, Yair caused some embarrassment between Israel and Brazil after he left an open tab at the Hilton Rio de Janeiro Copacabana to the tune of 9,820.66 Brazilian reals (about $2,550). The bill included accommodations for four nights during his father's state visit and some smaller charges for laundry, services and taxes.

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