Daily Israel Report

Ben-Dahan: Yair Netanyahu Scandal 'Inappropriate'

Deputy Religious Affairs Minister Eli Ben-Dahan slams the media for focusing on affair, declares Leikanger should convert.
By Tova Dvorin
First Publish: 1/31/2014, 2:02 PM

Yair Netanyahu
Yair Netanyahu
Flash90

Deputy Religious Affairs Minister Eli Ben-Dahan (Jewish Home) denounced the media storm around the love affair between Yair Netanyahu and his Norwegian girlfriend Sandra Leikanger Friday, calling the scandal "inappropriate." 

When asked for his opinion on Army Radio, the Minister responded, "I don't usually get involved in people's private lives, especially not marital issues. But I do think the relationship is inappropriate; she should convert if the relationship is to continue." 

Ben-Dahan slammed the media as well, saying "it is not fitting" for the Israeli media to harp on about the issue. 

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has repeatedly denied the relationship between the two since the news surfaced last week. Leikanger is not Jewish; MKs and Jewish identity organizations demanded that Netanyahu do something about the matter, saying that it was unseemly for the son of the leader of the Jewish state to be dating a non-Jewish girl.

Bentzi Gopshtain, director of Lehava, a Jewish education group fighting assimilation in Israel, published a letter to Netanyahu on his Facebook page Sunday. There he called on Netanyahu "to prevent this relationship."

Addressing the prime minister, Gopshtain wrote "the consequences of your son's actions, despite his being a private individual, are far-reaching, both in terms of your family personally and in more national terms as well."

"On the personal level, his children - your grandchildren, as you certainly know, will not be Jews; their name may be Netanyahu, but Netanyahu the non-Jew. On the national level, this is the son of the prime minister of Israel, the state of the Jewish nation, who will join the six million (lost Jews in the Holocaust) as Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir declared," noted Gopshtain.

The Lehava director further criticized the hypocrisy of Netanyahu in "investing millions" in preventing assimilation among Jews outside of Israel, and yet providing an example and encouragement for the phenomenon from the prime minister's house in Jerusalem.