Yair Netanyahu, the eldest son of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, claimed on Monday that Israel’s Shin Bet security agency was involved in a “coup” against his father.
The accusation was made in response to a tweet by pro-Netanyahu pundit Eli Zipori, who asserted that it had been revealed at a court session as part of Netanyahu’s trial that Shin Bet staff employed as Netanyahu’s drivers had leaked information to journalist Ben Caspit, which contributed to the suspicions against the prime minister. The prime minister’s drivers are not Shin Bet employees.
Sharing a tweet by Zipori, the younger Netanyahu tweeted, “The Shin Bet is involved in a coup against the prime minister! Investigative committee now! These people need to stand trial and be sent to prison for many years.”
He later deleted the tweet.
Former communications minister Yoaz Hendel came to the defense of Shin Bet officials, saying the organization has defended Israelis since the establishment of the state.
“When the son of the prime minister turns them into enemies he harms all of our security,” Hendel tweeted, before calling on Netanyahu to disavow his son’s words and declare his full support for the security service.
Yair Netanyahu has a long history of incendiary comments on social media and frequently rails at those he says have wronged him or his family, leading to numerous libel lawsuits against him.
Earlier this month, he appeared in court to face a libel suit filed by a young woman who claims she was subjected to sexual harassment after he tweeted a photo of her that she said insinuated she was the lover of National Unity party leader Benny Gantz.
In December of last year, the elder Netanyahu was pushed to publicly reject his son’s calls for state prosecutors to be put on trial for treason after he implied that they deserved a death sentence.
“It’s called a coup, it’s called treason,” Yair Netanyahu told a right-wing radio station when referring to state prosecutors investigating his father’s alleged criminal offenses. “And everyone can look at the State of Israel’s laws and see what the punishment is for treason — and it is not prison.”