Son of Israel's Netanyahu faces sexual harassment claim

Son of Israel's Netanyahu faces sexual harassment claim
Yair Netanyahu is being sued for damages over claims of sexual harassment and defamation.
2 min read
17 March, 2021
Yair Netanyahu often provokes controversy online [Getty]
The son of Israel's longtime prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, is facing claims of sexual harassment and defamation.

Stav Shaffir, a former member of Israel's Knesset, has filed a lawsuit seeking damages from Yair Netanyahu over the allegations.

"When I was in Knesset [parliament], I held back from suing because I had immunity. I'm not sure that I was right to do that," Shaffir said in a tweet on Tuesday.

"I'm suing also in the name of many others who were hurt by this kind of behavior. It needs to be stopped," she added.

Shaffir is seeking 143,603 shekels ($44,000) for publishing defamation and another 120,000 shekels ($36,000) for sexual harassment in damages from Netanyahu, i24 reported.

The lawsuit comes nearly a year after a spat between Shaffir, who leads the Green Movement, and Netanyahu.

The opposition politician hit out Prime Minister Netanyahu after his office posted a photo of him celebrating the Passover festival with his family, including his son Yair.

Yair Netanyahu lives separately from his father, making the gathering a violation of coronavirus restrictions that were in place at the time.

Shaffir criticised the gathering, leading to a heated exchange on Twitter in which the younger Netanyahu slammed her as "ugly outside and inside".

"Find yourself an Arab husband who will not dump you, go to some village, convert to Islam and leave us alone," he wrote.

Netanyahu went on to describe Shaffir as a "stupid paedophile lover", referring to alleged links between Jeffrey Epstein and former Israel Prime Minister Ehud Barak, an ex-political ally of Shaffir.

Barak was a former business associate of Epstein and has been cited in court filings regarding alleged sex abuse - claims he strongly denies.
Shaffir's lawyers say the premier's son attempted "to harm the plaintiff and humiliate her using her gender and sexuality".

Yair Netanyahu also falsely presented Shaffir as a "supporter of criminal activity", her lawyer were quoted as saying by The Jerusalem Post.

The prime minister's son is no stranger to inflaming controversy online due to his outsized Twitter presence and openly antagonistic posts and rants. He has faced multiple lawsuits over allegations of defamation in the past.

Netanyahu junior regularly takes to social media to express anti-Palestinian and anti-Muslim views, tweeting last year that Palestine has never existed because there is "no P in Arabic".

In another instance, he said that he would "prefer" for all Muslims to leave Israel.

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