Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faced a new scandal when a new recording emerged, showing his 26-year-old son relaxing and enjoying in a Tel Aviv strip club with his two friends.
The recording, which was aired on Israel’s Channel 2 on Monday night, shows Netanyahu’s son Yair having a conversation with his friends and making derogatory remarks about the strippers and the waitresses in the strip club in 2015, reported CNN.
In the recording, Yair can be heard demanding money from Ori Maimon, who is the son of the renowned Israeli gas tycoon Kobi Maimon.
“My father did a good deal for you, brother. You have to be good to me,” Yair was heard saying this to Ori.
“We fought in the Knesset (Parliament) for it, brother. My father battled for it, I remember,” Yair added.
“My dad arranged $20 billion for your dad, and you’re whining with me about 400 shekels,” Yair continued, referring to the money he borrowed in the strip club.
According to CNN, the conversation was about a proposal to split the income of the future natural gas drilling proceeds between private and state companies of Israel.
However, political observers have assumed the talks in the recording as an “another case of corruption”.
Later, Roman Abramov, another friend of Yair, who joined the two later at the club, said, “This conversation should not get out. God save us. God, if this gets out, it will be hell.”
The recordings of Yair’s conversation come at a time when Netanyahu himself is embroiled in a controversy regarding the legislation of a newly discovered natural gas deposit in the Mediterranean Sea.
Also, the Israeli prime minister is facing probes involving allegations of bribery, corruption and breach of trust. However, he has repeatedly denied any wrongdoings.
Netanyahu’s family has denied any involvement of the Israeli prime minister and his son in the gas deal. They also blasted Channel’s 2 decision to broadcast the recording, saying that Yair was only “joking” and the channel has breached the “privacy of the ruling family”.
“Every parent that watched the recording should think how they would react if every false expression of their kids was turned into a headline on Channel 2, and every time they left the house, it was turned into an investigation and every conversation was turned into a hidden recording,” a Netanyahu family spokesman said in a statement.
“The PM has no connection with Kobi Maimon, whom he met only once about 10 years ago. The PM brought about the gas protocols because he wanted to encourage competition to the Tamar gas field under the ownership of Kobi Maimon,” the spokesperson added.
The recording also showed Yair being accompanied by bodyguards to the strip club and also had a car and driver that was allegedly paid for by using government’s money.
Yair apologised for his statements late on Tuesday. However, he also accused Channel 2 of carrying out a “witch-hunt”.
“This evening, I watched the embarrassing ‘yellow’ report that showed an illegal hidden recording from a conversation that took place two-and-a-half years ago. In a night-time conversation, under the influence of alcohol, I said nasty things about women and other things that should not have been said. These things don’t represent the person I am, the values I was educated on and what I believe,” said Yair.
In a tweet in Hebrew, former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak trashed Yair for his recording and mocked the statement that Netanyahu’s family had made.
“Compassion for the son? It is impossible to get him back on the tracks because he was never on track. A narcissist that grew up in the mud of stinking corruption, with kickbacks of billions and grey deals on account of (the people of Israel),” he wrote on the micro-blogging site.
It is not the first time that Netanyahu’s son has found himself at the centre of a controversy.
In September last year, he posted a meme on Facebook, which targeted his father’s political enemies.
However, the meme was widely deemed to have drawn on anti-Semitic imagery and was reposted approvingly by American far-right leader David Duke. Yair deleted the post later on and apologised.
Image: Benjamin Netanyahu with his son Yair. Photograph: Baz Ratner/Reuters