(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
"My dad arranged a $20 billion windfall for your dad and you can’t spot me NIS 400?’’ These words, spoken by Yair Netanyahu, son of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, were recorded in 2015 as the younger Netanyahu was visiting a strip club with Ori Maimon, the son of natural gas tycoon Kobi Maimon.
The recording was released by Channel 2 news reporter Gai Peleg on Monday and led various Israeli politicians to come forward to address the content of the recording.
Former prime minister Ehud Barak tweeted: “[Let us have] mercy on the son. It’s impossible to call him to get back on track [as] he was probably never on track. A daffodil that grew in a stinking swamp of corruption, with kick-backs from billionaires and dark deals [done] at the expense of Israeli citizens. The corruption cries out from all the screens. Legally – it will continue. Morally – this is the end.”
Labor MK Eitan Cabel published the following statement on his Facebook account: “Put the laughter [of Yair Netanyahu and his friends] aside for a moment, what we are seeing here is scary.”
Cabel went on to say that “the conversation between his son Yair and the son of gas tycoon Kobi Maimon brings up difficult emotions in me. As if the money belongs to his father and not to the public.”
MK Merav Michaeli [Labor] stated that “the publication regarding Yair Netanyahu is not a gutter press [publication]; this is a publication about a son of a prime minister who, as it seems, is conducting a criminal felony of soliciting a person to do sex work after visiting a stripper and openly contemplating how to pimp his former girlfriend.”
The Netanyahu family issued a statement in which they said that: “Let any parent who watched the [television] news segment think about how they would react if an utterance by one of their children became a leading story on Channel 2, if any [night] spent outside the house became an object of inquiry and every conversation a potential secret recording.”
The family went on to blame those responsible for the publication for “persecution, bloodshed, and shaming”, including “using a secret recording that was edited in a manipulative [way] and was carried out in a shameful and illegal manner by a driver employed by the Prime Minister's office.”
The statement goes on to claim that no other family member of a residing prime minister, “including family members who demonstrated against IDF soldiers”, ever got such coverage.
The Netanyahu family denied having any involvement in the security arrangements regarding who is protecting and driving the sons of the Prime Minister. Netanyahu himself claimed he only met Kobi Maimon once a decade ago and that his work regarding the Israeli gas market was aimed to create competition for Mr. Maimon.
Yair Netanyahu claims to know little about the issue and says that if he spoke about it “he did so in jest.”