Yair Netanyahu feuds with Arab Twitter users over Israel’s rights to the land
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Yair Netanyahu feuds with Arab Twitter users over Israel’s rights to the land

PM’s son tweets multiple posts about region’s history, including some dubious claims, suggests Palestinians ‘go to Jordan’

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's eldest son Yair Netanyahu is seen at the Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court on June 5, 2018. (Flash90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's eldest son Yair Netanyahu is seen at the Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court on June 5, 2018. (Flash90)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s son Yair has in recent days been engaged in a Twitter feud with Arab users over Israel’s rights to its territory, and the Jewish people’s historic rights to the Land of Israel.

The gist of the argument made by the premier’s son, known for his brash, controversial style and frequent online quarrels with political opponents, was that Israel belongs to the Jews, while Palestinians should seek national rights elsewhere.

The bickering appeared to have stemmed from pictures posted by Yair Netanyahu on Saturday during a visit to Lifta, an abandoned Arab village near the western entrance to Jerusalem whose residents fled during the 1947-1948 battles of Israel’s War of Independence.

Netanyahu posted several images of the village under the words “Lifta, Jerusalem” and an icon of the Israeli flag.

This led multiple Arab users to respond that the photos showed Palestine, not Israel.

Lifta, which is located within Israel’s internationally recognized borders, served as a base from which attacks were launched against Jews during the war. However, as one of the best-preserved Arab villages whose inhabitants fled or were driven out during the war, it a symbol to those who recognize Israel’s founding as a source of Palestinian suffering.

In the days since that exchange, Netanyahu has engaged with various Arab commentators. In one post, he shared a photo of the Titus Arch in Rome, noting that it depicted the Roman victory over the Jews of Jerusalem “700 yrs b4 your prophet was born far away in Arabia.”

In another post, he uploaded a comparison of the Jordanian and Palestinian flags, apparently suggesting that Palestinians are actually Jordanian and not indigenous to Israel.

He posted a “history lesson” in which he noted that Palestinians have only referred to themselves as such since the 1960s, while the name previously referred to Roman-era Israel.

He also asserted that “Arabs only came less then a 100 [years] ago as labor immigrants for the Jews and British,” while noting the land’s depiction as “empty” by American and European visitors throughout the 19th Century.

While the Holy Land was indeed described as desolate by visitors at the time, the claim that there was not a significant Arab population in the land prior to the 20th century is untrue.

In yet another post, the prime minister’s son said: “Dear Arabs. You have all the green. We have the little red dot. And u call us colonizers? B4 the 7 century Arabs were only in Arabia! All the Middle East was Greek and Christian with Jews living in judea. You are the colonizers!”

He called on one user to “Go back to Jordan! This is Judea!”

Yair Netanyahu has developed a reputation as a fierce and often undiplomatic defender of his father and government policies on social media, often engaging in online spats with journalists and others.

In December 2018, he was briefly banned from Facebook for making anti-Muslim comments. That same month he was censured by a judge for using crude language while being cross-examined during a libel case he filed against an activist. He also called the activist’s supporters, who protested outside the courtroom, “brownshirts,” referring to Nazi thugs.

A year earlier he came under fire for posting an anti-Semitic meme showing Jewish philanthropist George Soros as pulling the strings behind the investigations into his father.

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