Prime Minister’s son caught going AWOL to have Shabbat dinner with family

Yair Netanyahu gets 21-day military detention for popping home, with his bodyguards, for Friday night meal

Aaron Kalman is a former writer and breaking news editor for the Times of Israel

The Netanyahu family visiting the northern town of Acre. Yair is on the far right (photo credit: Avi Ohayon/GPO/Flash90)
The Netanyahu family visiting the northern town of Acre. Yair is on the far right (photo credit: Avi Ohayon/GPO/Flash90)

Yair Netanyahu, the son of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has been sentenced to 21 days of detention after lying to his commander about his whereabouts.

Yair Netanyahu was supposed to be on duty over the weekend with another soldier, when he decided to leave the base for a few hours and go home for the family’s Friday night dinner, Yedioth Ahronoth reported Wednesday morning.

The younger Netanyahu serves in the international desk of the IDF Spokesperson’s Office, and a number of reporters were annoyed that no one was answering the phone at the desk. After hours without response, some of them decided to call the officer in charge of the desk.

The officer called Yair, who did not answer but sent him a message saying he had gone to get food. A short inquiry by the officer revealed that the young soldier had left his base without permission, and that he had been at home for a few hours.

On Monday Lt.-Col. Avital Leibovich, chief IDF spokesperson to the foreign press, court-martialed the prime minister’s son on two counts: leaving a military base without permission and lying to a supervising commander. He must not now leave the base for 21 days.

Two more people left the base with Netanyahu on Friday night, but they were doing their jobs and will not be charged with anything. Yair Netanyahu, the only soldier in the army with a special security detail — due to his father’s position — brought his two bodyguards with him for the AWOL Shabbat eve dinner.

The Prime Minister’s Office declined to comment.

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