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Israeli PM Netanyahu's son directed abuse at Muslims on Facebook

Yair Netanyahu is a spokesman for the military and it is not the first time Israeli Defence Forces have misused the site…

Image: Toby Talbot/AP/Press Association Images

THE ISRAELI PRIME minister’s 19-year-old son — a military spokesman — posted derisive comments about Arabs and Muslims on his Facebook page, it has emerged.

Earlier this year, Yair Netanyahu posted that Muslims “celebrate hate and death,” the Haaretz daily newspaper reported last week.

In the same post, written after Palestinian assailants entered a West Bank settlement and stabbed five members of an Israeli family to death, he wrote that “terror has a religion and it is Islam.”

Yair Netanyahu also wrote that he hoped “there would never be” a Palestinian state, and two years prior, he ran a Facebook group of 23 people that had called for a boycott of Arab businesses and products.

Haaretz said the comments in question were removed from the Facebook page within two hours of the paper’s request for a response from the prime minister’s aides.

The prime minister’s office wouldn’t comment on the Facebook reports, referring questions to a lawyer for the Netanyahu family. Attorney David Shimron said the comments were taken out of context, calling them “the cynical use of the words of a teenager, said in anger.”

The defamatory comments drew an immediate condemnation from the Palestinians. Spokesman Husam Zomlot interpreted things differently to the family lawyer:

That’s the teaching of his father. That’s what Netanyahu produced in terms of a family and that’s what Netanyahu produced in terms of a society.

A military statement said commanders had spoken to Yair Netanyahu “to clarify to the soldier the military commands, outlining his mistakes, as would be done with any soldier in a similar situation.”

Some of the comments on Facebook predated his military service, the military said, adding that he had been ordered to remove political statements posted after he was drafted.

Israel military has suffered a series of online embarrassments.

Soldiers have posted pictures on Facebook of themselves mistreating detained Palestinians and dancing on patrol. In one case, the military had to cancel an operation after a soldier revealed plans on his Facebook page.

- AP

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