Yair Netanyahu: ‘High Court and state prosecutor are destroying the country’

PM’s son blasts justice system over detention of 3 civilians on suspicion of killing Palestinian man on October 7 and stealing weaponry from Israeli troops

Yair Netanyahu arrives for a court hearing in Tel Aviv, on November 29, 2022. (Avshalom Sassoni/ Flash90)
Yair Netanyahu arrives for a court hearing in Tel Aviv, on November 29, 2022. (Avshalom Sassoni/ Flash90)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s son Yair shared a video on social media on Saturday slamming the state prosecutor and High Court as “destroying the country” after the arrest of three civilians suspected of killing a Palestinian man on October 7 and stealing weapons from Israeli troops.

The video shared on Netanyahu’s Instagram story showed former far-right Knesset lawmaker Michael Ben Ari, who is representing one of the suspects in the case.

“This is not Sodom. It is beyond Sodom. Murdering a Nukhba terrorist? What are these words? October 7,” Ben Ari said in the video. “And they are dealing with this?”

Yair Netanyahu captioned the post: “The High Court and the state prosecutor are destroying the country.”

The judiciary is a frequent target of ire from the right, and in particular from the Netanyahu government, which sought to limit the High Court’s power in the year before the outbreak of the war, sparking major controversy and a large-scale protest movement.

Ben Ari was a previous leader of far-right Otzma Yehudit, but was disqualified by the High Court of Justice from running ahead of the April 2019 elections due to his repeated incitement against Arabs. He previously served in the Knesset as a member of the National Union alliance of far-right political parties.

Michael Ben Ari speaks at Otzma Yehudit’s campaign launch in Jerusalem on July 4, 2019. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

According to Walla, the chief suspect accused of killing the man on October 7 is alleged to have seized a Palestinian whom he identified as an operative in Hamas’s elite Nukhba force, interrogated him, and executed him at the end of the interrogation.

According to reports, the suspect maintains that the alleged terrorist was alive when he transferred him to security forces.

Ynet reported that two of the three suspects arrived at the front lines unarmed and stole weapons from the bodies of slain Israel Defense Forces soldiers. One of the suspects was reportedly also connected to a separate case in which a man was charged with stealing weapons from IDF bases in the aftermath of October 7 by impersonating other people.

Yair Netanyahu is known for his provocative online presence and has faced legal action over his social media activity.

Last month, he tore into the military, citing the High Court of Justice’s interim order instructing the state comptroller to suspend any aspects of his probe into the failings relating to October 7 that deal with the Israel Defense Forces and Shin Bet.

“What are they trying to hide? If there was no treason, why are they so afraid for external and independent parties to check what happened?” the premier’s son wrote on X.

State Comptroller Matanyahu Englman’s investigation has been controversial ever since he announced it in December 2023. Good governance watchdog groups petitioned the court against the comptroller’s initiative, arguing that it was not in his purview and would harm the IDF’s operational capabilities.

Groups also expressed concern that the investigation would ignore political responsibility for the devastating invasion and massacres. The IDF and the State Attorney’s Office also opposed the investigation.

In his post, the younger Netanyahu said: “To this day, no answer has been given for why they didn’t update the prime minister about the discussion held the night before 10/7.”

He was presumably referring to a telephone consultation held by IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi at around 5 a.m. the morning of October 7, following an email sent from an IDF base on the Gaza border earlier that night about “certain signs coming from Gaza.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s son Yair arrives for a court hearing in Tel Aviv, on November 29, 2022. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

“Why didn’t they inform [the prime minister] about the material revealed in the ‘Walls of Jericho’ report?” the younger Netanyahu continued.

A report in The New York Times in December alleged that Israel had obtained detailed battle plans from Hamas more than a year before the attack, and had codenamed the 40-page document “Walls of Jericho.”

He has also shared a post casting top security chiefs as “fatal failures.”

In May, he shared a video of a masked IDF reservist pledging allegiance to the prime minister while threatening mutiny against Halevi and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant if the military would not pursue “complete victory” over Hamas.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a Knesset plenum session in Jerusalem on May 27, 2024. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

In December, he liked a social media post accusing Halevi of initiating a de facto military coup on October 7, claiming the military chief knew ahead of time of the devastating Hamas assault, but did not tell the premier.

Yair Netanyahu, who now resides near Miami, reportedly moved to Florida last year after the premier and his wife demanded that he 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.

Along with his contentious social media presence, Yair Netanyahu has faced criticism for remaining in the US despite the outbreak of war, as tens of thousands of Israelis returned home to join the over 300,000 reservists initially called up.

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