Fuming Netanyahu urges law banning surreptitious recordings

Netanyahu demands that the Knesset take action after son's drunken ramblings revealed on television. 'They crossed a red line.'

Tzvi Lev ,

Yair Netanyahu
Yair Netanyahu
Photo by Marc Israel Sellem/POOL

A fuming Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu demanded that the Knesset take legislative action after Channel 2 published a salacious recording of his son Yair drunkenly demanding that his friend loan him money, claiming that a financial windfall his friend's father received was due to Prime Minister Netanyahu's policies regarding the Leviathan gas fields near Haifa.

The recording was surreptitiously made by Yair Netanyahu's driver in 2015 and documented the prime minister's son making disparaging comments about women after a wild night of debauchery in 2015 together with the son of gas billionaire Kobi Maimon.

During a cabinet meeting, a visibly angry Netanyahu asked Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Jewish Home) to explore whether it would be legally possible to pass legislation forbidding someone to be recorded without his permission. "This crosses red lines from a security perspective, and no less than that, it also crosses red lines from a media perspective," said the Prime Minister.

Netanyahu's words were echoed by Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev (Likud). "We can’t be hostages," she said. "We are being threatened, and they are even trying to profit from selling it [recordings of private conversations] to the media. We can’t become punching bags to be attacked at any given moment". Agricultural Minister Uri Ariel (Jewish Home) vowed to cease using government security guards if he was unable to trust that they would not be harming him politically.

Yair Netanyahu, who is clearly drunk in the recording, can be heard dismissing his friend's demands that he repay them for the money they spent on alcohol and other activities. Yair Netanyahu brushes them off and opines that he shouldn't have to repay the son of Kobi Maimon due to the financial windfall his father enjoyed resulting from Prime Minister Netanyahu's support for drilling in the Leviathan gas fields near Haifa.

"You’re crying over 400 shekels ($117)? My father arranged 20 billion dollars for your father and you’re crying over 400 shekels ($117)?" Yair Netanyahu asks rhetorically. "Bro, you have to be nice to me. Bro, my dad got your dad a sweet deal, he fought for it at the Knesset, bro."

Yair Netanyahu apologized after the expose, saying in a statement that "these remarks do not reflect who I am, the values on which I was raised and my beliefs. I regret the remarks and apologize if anyone was hurt by them. In addition, the things I said to Maimon were a dumb joke and joking around with him, as anyone could tell. I never took an interest in the natural-gas framework agreement and never had any idea about its details."