Lee Levi, the ex-girlfriend of Yair Netanyahu models for wedding dress designer Yam Yagoodaev's 2018 catalog.
(photo credit: RONEN FADIDA)
Israeli media are abuzz over a salacious 2015 audio recording featuring Yair Netanyahu that Channel 2 News released on Monday night.
Among many of the questionable comments the son of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made while purportedly drunk in the back of a limo were references to a past girlfriend.
“I have to arrange her for you,” he’s heard saying in the recording to his friends Nir Maimon and Roman Abramov.
“I have to arrange her for everyone...That’s how I settle all my debts.”
The name of the woman Netanyahu, now 26, was referring to was bleeped in the recording published on Monday night. Several media outlets speculated that he meant Danish-Israeli model and student Lee Levi, who dated the prime minister’s son for a brief period in 2015.
Earlier in the year, Netanyahu dated another woman, Romi Shtricker, and before that he had a longer relationship with Sandra Leikanger, a non-Jewish woman from Norway.
On Monday evening, an anonymous ex-girlfriend of Netanyahu’s responded to Ynet that “I’m sure it’s a mistake and he wasn’t talking about me. And even if he was, so what? It was a guys conversation, I’m sure he didn’t mean it. I’m not hurt.”
But on Tuesday afternoon, Levi wrote a long Facebook post in Hebrew in reaction to the news.
“There are people who think he’s talking about me in the conversation,” she wrote, “even though when it was recorded in August 2015 I was no longer dating Yair. Regardless, it is important for me to clarify and have my opinion heard.” Levi added that when she listened to the recording she felt disgust and horror.
“And it is important for me to emphasize that the feelings of disgust are not because some of the statements may have been directed at me, but because of the fact that there are even today people who think and talk in such an offensive and disrespectful way about women.”
Levi went on to offer her support for the #metoo movement that supports speaking out about sexual harassment and assault. She said that if there is anything she feels ashamed about, “it is the fact that I dated, for even a brief period, someone who holds such dark views of women.”
Writing on Instagram in English, Levi said she has had an “intense 24 hours,” and isn’t able to respond to all the messages of support as she focuses “on a big psychology case from my education in Denmark.”
On Tuesday, Yair Netanyahu apologized for the recorded conversation, which he said was held “under the influence of alcohol.” Aside from the comments about a girlfriend, the three young men discussed going to a strip club and made a series of offensive and insensitive remarks.
“I said ridiculous things about women and other foolish things that were better left unsaid,” he said in a statement.
“These words do not represent who I am, the values I was raised on or what I believe in. I regret [saying] them and apologize if anyone was hurt by them.”
Na’amat, a women’s rights NGO, said on Tuesday that Netanyahu’s recorded words were “offensive and shocking.”
The organization added that the prime minister and his wife should offer an “unequivocal condemnation of these serious and violent words.”
Levi has recently modeled for wedding dress designer Yam Yam Yagoodaev's 2018 catalog, who chose the aftermath of the Netanyahu scandal as the opportune time to release the new collection.