A stripper on Monday told an Israeli television channel that Yair Netanyahu was a regular customer at strip clubs, following the release of a bombshell recording in which the prime minister’s son is heard making disparaging comments about women during a night of excess in a series of Tel Aviv strip clubs.
Speaking with Reshet TV, the woman — who didn’t give her name and whose voice was altered to disguise her identity — said she first saw the younger Netanyahu at the Tel Aviv strip club where she worked at a few years ago.
“A few years ago I was working at a strip club in the area of Hamasger Street and one evening I see two guards in suits not associated with the club standing at the door of one of the private rooms where the girls are taken,” she said. “I asked my boss, ‘what is this?’ and he told me, ‘Netanyahu’s son is there with one of the girls in one of the [private] rooms.'”
“After roughly 20 minutes to half an hour [Yair Netanyahu] came out of the room and I was just in shock, like, clearly I was one of the only girls in the club who knew what Netanyahu’s son looks like.”
The stripper told the Israeli TV show she saw the younger Netanyahu a number of times at the strip club since.
He was “escorted by security guards every time. He has been going to strip clubs already for a number of years,” she said.
She said she found it “bizarre” Yair Netanyahu was being accompanied by government-funded security guards and apparently didn’t make an effort to conceal his identity.
“It seemed sort of bizarre that security guards from the Shin Bet are escorting him to places like this and only now it blows up. It didn’t seem like he was trying to hide it when he came to clubs like this,” she said.
The recording, apparently made two and a half years ago, captured conversations between Yair Netanyahu, then 25; Nir Maimon, the son of gas magnate Koby Maimon; and Roman Abramov, a friend. It was broadcast Monday evening by Hadashot TV news, despite a request from the prime minister to keep it off the air.
Aside from the banter between the men about strippers, Yair Netanyahu also discusses a woman that Hadashot reported he had been in a relationship with.
“If you want, I can set you up with some ****,” he says of her, in comments that the channel said it censored due to their offensive nature. He adds that he is broke and could charge money for pimping her out.
Yair Netanyahu apologized for the recordings, while also calling the report on him “biased and shameful” and claiming the recordings were illegally obtained.
“In that late night conversation, under the influence of alcohol, I said foolish things about women and other foolish things that would have been better left unsaid,” he said. “These words do not represent who I am, the values I was raised on, or the principles I believe in. I regret saying them and apologize if anyone was offended by them.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defended his son on Tuesday, saying the comments “under the influence of alcohol and has since apologized for them.”
“My son was correct in saying yesterday that he had spoken foolish words,” the prime minister said at a meeting Tuesday with NATO ambassadors in Jerusalem. “He said, it’s not me, Yair. He said that these are not the values that characterize him. And he’s right.”
Netanyahu added that he had raised his two sons to “respect everyone, and to respect every woman. This is also why I vehemently oppose the exclusion of women [from public affairs]. Women should play central roles in academia, science, and the air force. These are the values we believe in.”
The recordings were released by Hadashot news, despite pressure from the Prime Minister’s Office to block their broadcast. Netanyahu’s attorney Yossi Cohen sent a letter to Hadashot asking that the recording not be aired, the channel said.
In a statement to the TV channel, the Netanyahu family said the recordings were meant to undermine the prime minister.
“Your witch hunt has reached a new and unprecedented low with the broadcast of a secret tape of things that were said jokingly two and a half years ago, between young people drinking alcohol,” the statement said.
It added that the prime minister was not aware of his son’s friendship with Nir Maimon, and maintained the prime minister was not acquainted with Maimon’s billionaire father.