JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli political leaders lashed out at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's eldest son Sunday for posting an anti-Semitic caricature aimed at his father's critics.
Yair Netanyahu's meme shows American Jewish billionaire George Soros and a figure that resembles Nazi depictions of world Jewry manipulating former Prime Minister Ehud Barak and two leaders of weekly protests calling on Netanyahu to step down over corruption allegations. The post was shared by former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke and other anti-Semites.
The opposition Labor Party's chairman Avi Gabbay told Army Radio the post "crossed every line imaginable," saying it was a "very sad" day for Israel and the Jewish people when the prime minister's son posts a cartoon that the leader of the Ku Klux Klan agrees with. Barak wondered on Twitter whether Yair Netanyahu, who enjoys a state-funded driver and bodyguard while living at the prime minister's official residence, absorbed such ideology at home.
"What is it, genetics or a spontaneous mental illness? It doesn't matter. In any case, we ought to pay for him to have a psychiatrist, not a bodyguard and a chauffeur," Barak wrote. Yair Netanyahu responded by calling Barak a drunk who needed geriatric care.
The 26-year-old Yair Netanyahu has drawn criticism for living a life of privilege at taxpayers' expense and for his crude social media posts.
The Netanyahu family is facing a slew of corruption allegations. The prime minister has been questioned about his ties to executives in media, international business and Hollywood. His associates have been engulfed in a probe relating to a possible conflict of interest involving a $2 billion purchase of German submarines. Israel's attorney general has said he intends to indict the prime minister's wife, Sara, for fraud over her bloated household expenses.
Yair Netanyahu, who has reportedly taken a leading role in his father's aggressive social media platform, has also been drawn into the scandals. Australian billionaire James Packer has reportedly lavished Yair with gifts that included extended stays at luxury hotels in Tel Aviv, New York and Aspen, Colorado, as well as the use of his private jet and dozens of tickets for concerts by Packer's former fiancee, Mariah Carey.
Police are trying to determine whether these constitute bribes, since Packer is reportedly seeking Israeli residency status for tax purposes.
The prime minister has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, portraying the accusations as a witch hunt against him and his family by a hostile media. He has resisted increasing calls to step down.