Yair Netanyahu observes his father Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu casting a ballot in the 2015 elections..
(photo credit: REUTERS/SEBASTIAN SCHEINER/POOL)
Amid an ongoing debate on whether the state should pay for 24-hour security for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s two grown sons, a secret tape was aired by Channel 2 on Monday of one of those sons making disparaging comments about women, and boasting that his father arranged a massive business deal for the father of one of his friends.
The tape was of a conversation in a car on a Friday night in the summer of 2015 after Yair Netanyahu, 26, and two of his friends visited some Tel Aviv strip joints. One of those friends was Ori Maimon, the son of Kobi Maimon, one of the main shareholders in Isramco which owns the Tamar gas field.
In the tape, Yair, Maimon and a third friend – identified as Roman Abramov – are heard joking about how much money they spent at the clubs.
“My dad arranged for your dad $20 billion, and you’re fighting with me about NIS 400?” Yair is heard saying in the recording. He said that his father “arranged for your father a great deal” and fought for it in the Knesset.
At one point Maimon is heard saying that if this conversation got out, it would be “hell.”
Channel 2 stressed that Yair was accompanied throughout the evening, including in the strip clubs, by a security guard, and that he was driven around by a driver paid for by the state. Channel 2 dedicated 15 minutes to the story.
The three, apparently under the influence of alcohol, are heard joking about the strippers, how much they spent, and Yair’s old girlfriend.
A representative for the Netanyahu family issued a statement that asked parents how they would feel if every “idle remark” made by their children would be secretly recorded and turned into a major headline.
The statement said that in order to damage the Likud government led by Netanyahu, “all means are legitimate, even at the costs of unrestrained damage to his family members.”
The statement said that the recording was made in a “shameful and illegal manner” by the driver.
“No other member of the family of any other prime minister, including members of a family who demonstrated against IDF soldiers during a military operation, has been covered with such nastiness,” the statement said, in reference to one of Ehud Olmert’s children who demonstrated against the IDF in 2006.
The statement said the taped conversation took place “two and a half years ago between young people who were drinking. These things do not deserve to be broadcast on a program of cheap gossip, let alone on a central news program.”
The statement said that the security detail for Netanyahu’s sons is decided upon by the security establishment, and “when an Iranian website publishes the pictures of Yair and Avner and calls for their elimination,” the security apparatus apparently has good reason to do provide fulltime protection.
The statement stressed that the prime minister has no relationship with Kobi Maimon, who it said he met only once some 10 years ago, and that he did not know about his son’s relationship with Maimon’s son.
Last week, the Prime Minister’s Office and former Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) head Yoram Cohen disagreed publicly about whether the Shin Bet had previously recommended that fulltime security be provided for Netanyahu’s two sons who live with him in the Prime Minister’s Residence.
Cohen said that the Shin Bet’s opinion was that they did not need a permanent security detail, while the PMO disputed that account, and said that after Operation Protective Edge in 2014, Cohen said there was a need to tighten the security arrangements for the prime minister’s sons.