Benjamin Netanyahu's son may have gotten him in trouble thanks to a drunken rant

The Israeli Prime Minister's son was caught on tape in 2015 bragging about his father helping a rich tycoon

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published January 8, 2018 3:52PM (EST)

Benjamin Netanyahu (Getty/Andrew Burton)
Benjamin Netanyahu (Getty/Andrew Burton)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been working under the cloud of corruption accusations over the past few months. And the latest report, coming from his own son's mouth, won't help him much.

Yair Netanyahu was recorded in 2015 boasting to Ori Maimon, the son of Israeli tycoon Kobi Maimon, about how Netanyahu's father's policies had directly profited the Maimon businesses, according to Haaretz. The younger Netanyahu remarked that Maimon was being cheap about paying for a prostitute after the Israeli prime minister had pushed a controversial gas bill through the Knesset (the Israeli parliament) that would lead to profit for the Maimons.

"My dad set up $20 billion for your dad, and you’re fighting with me about 400 shekels [about $115]?" Netanyaho asked Maimon in the recording.

The Netanyahu family released a statement about the recording, denying any connection between the prime minister and Kobi Maimon, and insisting that any comments made by Yair Netanyahu were meant "in jest" while denounced the tape as "cheap and malicious gossip regarding jokes that were made after a night of drinking" and as the product of "an illegal wiretap."

Although the origins of the tape are unclear, this is not the first time Yair Netanyahu has attracted unwanted publicity for his father. In August, he became the target of ridicule when he was caught refusing to pick up his dog's feces and then making a vulgar gesture to someone who insisted he do so. One month later, he again attracted controversy when he made a post online that equated the alt right protesters in Charlottesville with Antifa and Black Lives Matter, as well as claimed a conspiracy against Israel by George Soros and the European Union. Last week, he cursed out a left-wing think tank suing him for libel after they scolded him for showing up 45 minutes late to their arbitration.

Despite the son's problems, however, those facing the father are much worse. Prime Minister Netanyahu is currently being investigated on accusations of corruption, including accepting bribes from wealthy campaign contributors and attempting to arrange for a deal with a major Israeli newspaper to improve his coverage. Last month, 20,000 Israelis protested in Tel Aviv against the alleged corruption in the Netanyahu administration.

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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Benjamin Netanyahu Corruption Probe Israel Yair Netanyahu