Prime minister's family calls reports 'a vile lie'

Netanyahu said to bar son Yair from social media posts, speaking directly with MKs

Reports say demand from PM and his wife sparked ‘an explosion’ in the family and Yair has now gone to the US amid claims he’s stoking tensions; has not tweeted since March 28

Yair Netanyahu, son of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, arrives for a court hearing in a lawsuit filed by former MK Stav Shafir in Tel Aviv, on November 29, 2022. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)
Yair Netanyahu, son of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, arrives for a court hearing in a lawsuit filed by former MK Stav Shafir in Tel Aviv, on November 29, 2022. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara have reportedly demanded that their eldest son Yair stop posting on social media and not speak directly with lawmakers or ministers amid accusations he was inflaming tensions in Israel and exacerbating a diplomatic rift with the United States.

The reports come amid speculation as to why Yair Netanyahu, who normally tweets dozens of times a day — much of it ferocious attacks against perceived enemies of his father — has not been seen on Twitter since March 28.

One report on Walla, citing three right-wing sources close to the family, said that the prime minister and his wife told Yair he was causing damage and demanded he “calm down” and keep a low profile on social media.

It said the demand sparked a severe conflict, with one source calling it “an explosion.”

According to the report, Yair flew to the US earlier this week and is expected to remain there for several months.

A family spokesperson denied the report. “Enough already with this abuse of Yair Netanyahu. This entire report is one big vile lie. Yair’s trip to the US was planned a long time ago,” the spokesperson said.

Yair Netanyahu (left) and Sara Netanyahu in the Knesset gallery as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s new government is sworn in at the Knesset in Jerusalem, on December 29, 2022. (AMIR COHEN / POOL / AFP)

Later Thursday, Channel 12 news reported that the prime minister had also ordered his son to stop contacting various government ministers and Likud politicians. The network said Yair had been encouraging Likud officials to take hardline positions on the judicial overhaul just as the prime minister was seeking compromise and preparing to announce a delay on the legislation.

The Netanyahu family similarly denounced the television report as “a vile lie.”

The younger Netanyahu is known for his far-right views and combative social media presence, which has landed him in court on a number of occasions. His public prominence has risen amid widespread reports that he has been influencing his father’s policies, particularly over the contentious judicial overhaul plan.

He has not tweeted since his father announced a pause to the overhaul legislation to allow for dialogue.

Two days later, a court ordered him to pay tens of thousands of shekels in damages to former Labor MK Stav Shaffir after losing a libel suit over a series of offensive tweets.

Earlier in March, he appeared in court to face a libel suit filed by a young woman who says she was subjected to sexual harassment after he tweeted a photo of her that she claims insinuated she was the lover of National Unity party leader MK Benny Gantz.

He has compared demonstrators against the controversial judicial overhaul to the Nazis’ Sturmabteilung paramilitary, or SA.

He has also claimed the United States is funding the protests — an accusation strenuously denied by Washington. (A “senior official” close to the prime minister himself made a similar claim last month.)

After protesters blocked a major highway in Tel Aviv in a recent protest, Yair Netanyahu accused police brass of engaging in a “rebellion.”

He also claimed the Shin Bet security agency was involved in a “coup” against the premier, before later deleting the Twitter post. In another recent tweet that he has also since deleted, he called protesters who surrounded a Tel Aviv salon where his mother was getting her hair done “terrorists.”

He also seemed to indicate in December that “treasonous” prosecutors should face the death penalty for pressing charges against his father.

The prime minister has rarely criticized his son publicly. In the last instance, he said only that he “did not agree” with his comments.

read more:
Never miss breaking news on Israel
Get notifications to stay updated
You're subscribed
Register for free
and continue reading
Registering also lets you comment on articles and helps us improve your experience. It takes just a few seconds.
Already registered? Enter your email to sign in.
Please use the following structure:
Or Continue with
By registering you agree to the terms and conditions. Once registered, you’ll receive our Daily Edition email for free.
Register to continue
Or Continue with
Log in to continue
Sign in or Register
Or Continue with
check your email
Check your email
We sent an email to you at .
It has a link that will sign you in.