Yair Netanyahu puts Facebook skills to use in new social media job

Prime minister’s son will manage social media accounts for Tel Aviv-based legal NGO Shurat Hadin

Raoul Wootliff is a former Times of Israel political correspondent and Daily Briefing podcast producer.

Yair Netanyahu, son of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is seen in Tel Aviv on November 26, 2017. (Flash90)
Yair Netanyahu, son of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is seen in Tel Aviv on November 26, 2017. (Flash90)

Following months of headlines detailing Yair Netanyahu’s controversial social media posts, the prime minister’s son has gone professional with his online skills, securing a job as the social media manager for a prominent Israeli NGO.

Previously criticized for being unemployed while living with his parents at the taxpayer’s expense, the 26-year-old last month started working for Shurat HaDin — Israel Law Center, a Tel Aviv-based non-governmental organization whose aim is to put terror organizations out of business.

Over the past 14 years, Shurat HaDin has helped secure over $200 million for the families of terror victims, and is responsible for the freezing of an additional $600 million in assets belonging to terror organizations or state sponsors of terrorism.

In its latest campaign, Shurat Hadin is suing Facebook, Google and Twitter for allowing terror groups such as Hamas to disseminate their messages on their platforms. Yair Netanyahu’s new job will involve spreading word of the NGO’s activities via those same platforms.

Attorney Nitsana Darshan-Leitner has spent the past decade filing lawsuits for the victims of terror attacks against the governments, banks and corporations that enabled or financed the violence. (courtesy)

“We realized every legal campaign must be accompanied by a public campaign, including on social media,” Shurat Hadin president Nitsana Darshan-Leitner told the Jerusalem Post, which first reported the story Monday. “Social media is a good way of passing our message to policy makers, legislators and people on the street.”

Darshan-Leitner said that Yair Netanyahu was perfectly suited for the task.

“Yair is very intelligent, and he has terrific skills in expressing himself,” she said. “He connects what is happening in Israel and around the world with the organization’s activities on social media. He is doing good work so far.”

Those skills have, however, have also landed Netanyahu Junior in hot water on more than a few occasions, with contentious social media posts often attacking his and his family’s detractors.

Last year, he was criticized for posting a cartoon that appeared to adopt anti-Semitic themes to take aim at his parents’ critics, including former prime minister Ehud Barak, lawyer and Labor party activist Eldad Yaniv, and Menny Naftali, a former caretaker at the Prime Minister’s Residence, who is at the heart of allegations of wrongdoing over which Sara Netanyahu is facing indictment.

Screenshot of the cartoon posted by Yair Netanyahu, September 8, 2017. (Facebook)

Just last month, he waded into the diplomatic spat between Jerusalem and Ankara, by sharing an image saying “Fu*k Turkey” on Instagram.

He has previously made international waves by saying in a post that American left-wing groups are more dangerous than neo-Nazis, following deadly violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, during a far-right march, and US President Donald Trump’s controversial statements that “both sides were to blame” for the violence.

Facing often-negative media coverage (that has included his links to criminal investigations of his father and recordings revealing a night of debauchery at Tel Aviv strip clubs), Yair Netanyahu, like Shurat Hadin, has turned to the courts over social media posts.

In September, he filed a libel suit for NIS 140,000 ($40,000) over a post that claimed the prime minister had asked the Mossad to issue Netanyahu Junior a passport in a different name, which he then used to hide money offshore. The implications of the post were that the Netanyahu family was involved in money laundering or tax evasion.

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