Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s son Yair has joined the fight against terrorism – on social media.
The 26-year-old started a new job in April as the social media coordinator for Shurat Hadin, a Tel Aviv-based civil rights non-governmental organization focused on representing terror victims, Jewish issues and Israeli causes.
Shurat Hadin is currently suing Facebook for a billion dollars, as well as Google and Twitter, for providing a platform and services for terrorist organizations like Hamas and Islamic State. The NGO announced last week that it is building a war-crimes case against Hamas to be submitted to the International Criminal Court over the terrorist group’s use of flaming kites that targeted Israeli border farms over the past month.
“Yair is very intelligent, and he has terrific skills in expressing himself,” said Shurat Hadin president Nitsana Darshan-Leitner. “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.”
Shurat Hadin is currently hosting supporters from around the world to learn about security and the fight against terrorism. Netanyahu and the security guard who travels with him are accompanying the group.
“We realized every legal campaign must be accompanied by a public campaign, including on social media,” Darshan-Leitner said.
“The world is at a turning point, and if we want to be effective in the courts, it must be accompanied by a public campaign, including on social media. Social media is a good way of passing our message to policy makers, legislators and people on the street.”
The prime minister’s elder son is no stranger to controversy. Last year he was sharply criticized for posting a cartoon on Facebook featuring many of his father’s critics, including US billionaire George Soros and former prime minister Ehud Barak. In January, recordings were released of Yair Netanyahu speaking in a vulgar manner about women and attending strip clubs.
Amid a diplomatic crisis with Ankara two weeks ago, Netanyahu uploaded a post to his private Instagram account, reading “F*** Turkey.”
Last August, Netanyahu commented on the neo-Nazi march in Charlottesville, Virginia, in which a white supremacist killed one woman. He wrote on Facebook: “To put things in perspective. I’m a Jew, I’m an Israeli, the neo-Nazis scum in Virginia hate me and my country. But they belong to the past. Their breed is dying out. However the thugs of Antifa and BLM [Black Lives Matter] who hate my country (and America too in my view) just as much, are getting stronger and stronger and becoming super dominant in American universities and public life.”
Last summer, there was also “dog poop-gate,” in which a neighbor of the Prime Minister’s Residence accused Netanyahu on Facebook of not cleaning up after the family’s now deceased pooch, Kaya. Progressive think-tank Molad used one of its Facebook pages to essentially call him entitled and corrupt.
Molad said Netanyahu lives with his parents at the Prime Minister’s Residence, and is protected by a round-the-clock security detail provided by the state wherever he goes, despite not holding any state position of any kind.
Netanyahu responded by lashing out at Molad and the New Israel Fund, accusing former prime minister Ehud Olmert’s son Ariel of having “interesting relations with a Palestinian that has significance for national security,” bringing up an incident in which former president Shimon Peres’s son killed someone in a training accident in the IDF, and former prime minister Ariel Sharon’s son Omri went to prison on corruption charges. Olmert denied the rumors and slammed Netanyahu on similar counts as Molad. Netanyahu has since sued the think-tank.
Channel 10 reported in 2016 that Yair went on vacation on Australian billionaire James Packer’s dime and stayed at his homes in the US. Packer, who owns a home near the Netanyahus’ in Caesarea, is a person of interest in Case 1000, in which the prime minister is being investigated for allegedly accepting gifts worth more than the permissible amount. Following the report, the prime minister released a statement that his son is a private citizen and Packer is a close friend of the family.
Lahav Harkov and Amy Spiro contributed to this report.