Why Netanyahu’s son couldn’t visit India

Why Netanyahu's son couldn't visit India
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Natanyahu, his wife Sara and sons Yair and Avner, far right, attend the funeral of his father Benzion in Jerusalem, Monday, April 30, 2012. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)

Tel Aviv: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s son Yair had secured a visa for a week-long visit to India with his parents but was dropped at the last minute following a scandal involving his recordings from a night out at strip clubs disparaging women.

Netanyahu and his wife Sara landed in Delhi with a 130-strong trade delegation to boost bilateral relations. Yair was also set to leave with them after he was invited by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and had secured a visa, according to Hadashot TV news.

But he was pulled from the delegation at the last minute.

Last week, a secret tape was aired on Channel 2 in which Yair was showing driven around to Tel Aviv strip joints in a car and with a security team paid for by the state.

In the tape, Yair is heard making disparaging comments about women and boasting that his father had arranged a massive business deal for the father of one of his friends.

Netanyahu was asked about it at the tarmac at Ben Gurion Airport. He slammed the Israeli media for its “sanctimonious” coverage of the scandal involving his son.

He also offered pre-emptive criticism of the “hostile press” for what he predicted would be “underwhelming coverage of the trip”, Times of Israel reported.

“My wife and I stand here as a mother and father to a young son who loves the state of Israel with every fiber of his soul,” he said of his 27-year-old son.

“I want you to think about how you would feel if (the press) were trampling all over your children with unmitigated cruelty.”

Netanyahu said his comments were not only directed at the media “but also the public figures who have been sanctimoniously and hypocritically tutting”.

But “many citizens have shown Yair and us warm support”, he said.

“It is particularly touching to see coming in the face of such inhumanity, and I want to tell you then how much we appreciate it. You are giving us a lot of strength to continue.”