A Yesh Atid lawmaker said Saturday that a minister visiting a strip club is not an issue of public interest, even if he didn’t like the thought of a state-funded security guard at such an establishment. His remark came days after a recording emerged of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s son, Yair, making disparaging comments about women during a night out at Tel Aviv strip joints with two friends, accompanied by his security guard and a driver.
Speaking at a cultural event in Ness Ziona, Yaakov Peri, a former head of the Shin Bet security agency, said a security guard for a public official shouldn’t report a visit to a strip club if there was “no security risk or criminal offense.”
“It is of no public concern if a minister goes to a strip club,” said Peri. But he added that he “didn’t like the fact that a person provided with a security detail was taking a driver and a security guard funded by the State of Israel to a strip club.”
A spokeswoman for Peri later issued a clarification, saying his comment came in response to a question regarding providing security for the Netanyahus’ sons.
“When an official decision is made regarding protection for someone, it is not the concern of the public where the security guard accompanies [the official] and there is confidentiality on the matter, unless there is a criminal offense or [threat] to state security,” the spokeswoman said in a statement.
She said Peri’s remarks were in no way an endorsement of strip clubs or prostitution.
“The attempt to attribute to MK Peri a remark that says that it is okay to go to strip clubs is tendentious and delusional.”
On Monday, Hadashot TV news aired recordings of Yair Netanyahu visiting strip clubs while accompanied by a state-funded security guard.
The release of the tape came just days after former Shin Bet chief Yoram Cohen said he had recommended against providing publicly funded permanent guards for Netanyahu’s two sons, but that his recommendation was overruled.
The Prime Minister’s Office has said that security decisions regarding the Netanyahu sons were taken by the security wing within the PMO with input from the Shin Bet, and that the family itself was not involved.
Yair Netanyahu has called the report on the tape “biased and shameful,” and claimed the recordings were illegally obtained. He also apologized for the behavior captured in the recordings.
“In that late-night conversation, under the influence of alcohol, I said foolish things about women, and other foolish things that would have been better left unsaid,” he said. “These words do not represent who I am, the values I was raised on, or the principles I believe in. I regret saying them and apologize if anyone was offended by them.”
While Netanyahu said his son was right to apologize, he has attacked the press for airing the tape and said Thursday that the government should take legislative action against the leaking of recordings.