Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s son Yair was sued Tuesday for NIS 500,000 ($147,000) by a young woman who says he was responsible for “mass, public sexual harassment” of her after he insinuated she was having an affair with Benny Gantz.
On February 23, 10 days before Knesset elections in which Gantz was the chief challenger to his father — and before Gantz decided to join forces with the premier and become defense minister — the younger Netanyahu tweeted a photo of Dana Cassidy, asking: “Does anyone know who this is?”
He did so after posting unsubstantiated allegations about affairs Gantz supposedly had.
A pro-Likud Twitter account had responded with the image of Cassidy with Gantz, with the superimposed caption: “He invited me for tea and it turned me on.” Cassidy said she never wrote anything of the sort.
Cassidy, 19, an animal rights activist, had taken the photo with Gantz when he visited the farm where she works alongside Blue and White MK Miki Haimovitch.
מישהו יודע מי זאת? ???? pic.twitter.com/nWtzbkMZ46
— Yair Netanyahu ???????? (@YairNetanyahu) February 23, 2020
Cassidy said at the time that the reactions to Netanyahu’s post on social media included numerous sexual references to her and her supposed relationship with Gantz.
She said she was later inundated with “a flood” of calls from the media asking her for comment on her purported affair with the politician.
כל אחד והכוס תה שלו. pic.twitter.com/gahHe0nps9
— חדשות אמת (@TrueNewsIL) February 23, 2020
Ten days after the tweet, Cassidy announced she would sue Netanyahu and launched an online fundraising campaign.
That lawsuit was filed Tuesday. Cassidy wrote on Twitter that it includes 15 pages and 109 more pages of appendices. She said the crowdfunding campaign got support from 3,406 people and that future updates on relevant developments would be made by her father, Kobi.
According to the lawsuit, Netanyahu “described a clear, sexual, intimate and romantic relationship between the plaintiff and Gantz — something that has no ground in reality.”
The lawsuit argues that Cassidy was picked randomly so as to harm a political rival of the prime minister. “The defendant didn’t consider the plaintiff, her family or her friends and loved ones. According to the defendant, any person can be trampled on because the end justifies the means, however wrong they are,” it states.
Cassidy allegedly went through “mass, public sexual harassment” at the hands of Netanyahu, who at no point attempted to rein in his followers.
Netanyahu who has not yet filed a defense, on Tuesday called the lawsuit a “ridiculous, delusional and baseless SLAPP suit whose sole purpose is to win publicity and which must be rejected by law.”
A total of four lawsuits are currently pending against Yair Netanyahu, each for NIS 500,000, according to the Seventh Eye website.
The others were filed by a group leading anti-government protests whom Netanyahu allegedly likened to a Nazi militia; the former chief editor of the Walla news site, whom Netanyahu accused of being part of a “conspiracy” against the premier; and Nir Hefetz, a state witness against the premier, whose privacy was allegedly violated by Netanyahu.
Last month, Netanyahu issued a laconic apology after appearing employ a similar tactic against journalist Dana Weiss, appearing to suggest the top news anchor had attained her position through sexual favors.
Netanyahu maintains an outsize and inflammatory presence on social media.
Earlier this month, the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court ordered him to take down a tweet identifying and doxing the leaders of a protest movement against his father. The younger Netanyahu had publicized the activists’ addresses and encouraged his 88,000-plus social media followers to picket their homes. The court also told him to stop harassing the activists for six months “in any form.”
On July 27 Netanyahu apologized after facing a flurry of angry responses from Hindus who found one of his tweets offensive: He’d posted a picture of the Hindu goddess Durga with the face of Liat Ben Ari, the prosecutor in his father’s corruption cases, superimposed over the goddess’s face. Her many arms were also raised giving the middle finger.
הצייצן הבטלן עשה עכשיו שריפה גם עם ההודים, ומתנצל. pic.twitter.com/tUeuMv5sCc
— Ben Caspit בן כספית (@BenCaspit) July 27, 2020
He has also accused prominent politicians of engineering a coup against his father, claimed that Supreme Court Chief Justice Esther Hayut compared the prime minister to Hitler, and said that he wanted “all the Muslims [to] leave the Land of Israel,” which led him to be temporarily banned from Facebook.
In April, he tweeted his support for the end of the European Union and called for a “free, democratic and Christian” Europe. His statement was later endorsed by the German far-right, with Alternative for Germany MEP Joachim Kuhs sharing a graphic with the quote and a photo of Netanyahu online.
בתמונה מימין: פוסט של בנו של ראש ממשלת העם היהודי.
בתמונה משמאל: מקור ההשראה האנטישמי. pic.twitter.com/SnJA6Pkpi0
— Eldad Yaniv ???????? אלדד יניב (@EldadYaniv) September 9, 2017
In 2017, Netanyahu drew praise from white nationalists after sharing an anti-Semitic meme depicting American Jewish billionaire George Soros and a figure that resembles Nazi depictions of world Jewry manipulating former prime minister Ehud Barak and two leaders of an anti-government protest movement.
The meme also featured references to the Illuminati and a lizard-like creature, likely a reference to conspiracy theories peddled by British anti-Semite David Icke, who believes the world is run by the Rothschilds and giant shape-shifting reptiles.
Last month, Yair Netanyahu asked Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit to investigate alleged threats and incitement against him, saying he was concerned they could lead to attacks.
In a letter dated July 13, the premier’s lawyer said that his son had been subject to “the most serious and severe online bullying there is” and that he had also received threats against his person.