An Israeli television news network and one of its top anchors announced Tuesday they will sue Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s eldest son for defamation after he appeared to suggest she had attained her position through sexual favors.
In a tweet Sunday, Yair Netanyahu wrote, “Does anyone know how Dana Weiss got such a senior position? … Erudite? No. Smart? No. Interesting…”
After someone commented that Channel 12’s 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. Yair Netanyhu was accused of employing similar tactics in the past to shame a supporter of Blue and White chairman Benny Gantz.
In a statement announcing the libel suit, Channel 12 said Netanyahu made “slanderous, misogynist comments” against Weiss, “which even rise 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 later ruled the prime minister’s son be paid NIS 30,000 in damages after he filed suit.
Yair Netanyahu has previously feuded with Weiss, who in a video called him “shithead” 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.
In 2017, he drew international condemnation after posting a cartoon attacking critics of his parents — one that at the same time appeared to adopt anti-Semitic themes.
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 failing 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.