Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s eldest son on Thursday apologized for earlier this year appearing to suggest a top Israeli anchor had attained her position through sexual favors.
His apology was then shared by his father.
In May, Channel 12 news diplomatic correspondent and anchor Dana Weiss announced it would sue Yair Netanyahu for defamation for the offensive tweets, which the premier’s son then scoffed at in further social media posts.
However, on Thursday Yair Netanyahu posted: “The posts I published on May 23, May 24, and May 25 about Dana Weiss are baseless. I apologize to her and urge all online users to renounce them remove their posts relating to the matter.”
That tweet was then posted by the prime minister, captioned: “Posted by my son Yair today on Twitter.”
In a tweet in May, Yair Netanyahu wrote, “Does anyone know how Dana Weiss got such a senior position? … Erudite? No. Smart? No. Interesting…”
After someone commented that Weiss probably interviewed like most people do, he responded: “Hmmmm I don’t know if that’s called a job interview, what happened there.”
A number of Netanyahu’s followers responded by more explicitly suggesting Weiss had used sex to land the job.
In a statement announcing the libel suit, Channel 12 said Netanyahu made “slanderous, misogynistic comments” against Weiss, “which even amount to sexual harassment.”
“These are false and grave statements that constitute defamation,” the network said, adding the suit would be filed in the coming days.
It did not say how much the suit would seek in damages.
“Hahaha you want to hear a joke. Channel 12 filed a defamation suit *against me* in Dana Weiss’ name. The same channel that spilled my blood with the secret criminal recording,” Yair Netanyahu tweeted in response.
He was referring to a recording the network aired in 2018 of him making disparaging comments about women during a night out at Tel Aviv strip clubs. The younger Netanyahu later sued his former driver, who made the recording, and a court ruled he must be paid NIS 30,000 in damages.
Yair Netanyahu has previously feuded with Weiss, who in a video called him “a little shit” while she and other reporters boarded the prime minister’s plane to Washington, as he reportedly held up its departure.
Weiss later apologized.
Netanyahu has frequently generated controversy in recent years with his social media posts.
He was accused of employing similar tactics in the past to shame a female supporter of Blue and White chairman Benny Gantz.
In 2017, he drew international condemnation after attacking critics of his parents with a cartoon that employed anti-Semitic tropes.
He has also used social media to call a police chief autistic, and to accuse the president and Knesset speaker of plotting a coup, and has become embroiled in a number of libel suits, both as defendant and complainant.
In March, a judge ordered Netanyahu to pay NIS 250,000 after he failed to respond to a libel suit brought against him by a former Walla news site editor over a retweet with an incendiary allegation. He has petitioned the ruling.