Israeli PM Netanyahu's son in social media row over dog poo

Image source, AFP
Image caption,
Yair Netanyahu (right) got into a war of words with another, ex-prime minister's son

A son of the Israeli prime minister is facing a public backlash amid an escalating row over his reported failure to pick up his dog's droppings.

Yair Netanyahu, 25, responded with an obscene gesture, a neighbour said on Facebook, after she told him to clear up the waste left in a Jerusalem park.

Mr Netanyahu hit back at critics, leading the son of a former Israeli PM to accuse him of racism and homophobia.

The Netanyahus say Israeli media often unfairly focuses on their family.

The spat began when Talila Amitai posted her account of the exchange with Yair Netanyahu, whom she said raised his middle finger when she asked him to pick up his dog Kaya's poo.

Image source, Talila Amitai
Image caption,
"This is the faeces of the dog Kaya (yes, of the prime minister and his family). When I asked the eldest son, Yair, who came with her and the security guard to the dog's park where we were, to pick it up because we strictly maintain the cleanliness of the garden and even collect money for cleaning, he gave me the finger, turned his back and left."

The post has been shared more than 4,000 times and drew comments deriding Yair Netanyahu's behaviour.

As the incident gained attention, Molad, an Israeli think-tank critical of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government, published an excoriating online article called Five Facts You Didn't Know About Crown Prince Yair Netanyahu.

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It questioned the cost of Yair's lifestyle, highlighting the provision of round-the-clock security for the young Netanyahu at the taxpayers' expense, his inclusion on his parents' foreign trips and the fact that as an adult he lives at the Netanyahus' official Jerusalem residence.

Yair Netanyahu responded in a Facebook post, accusing Molad of being "a radical, anti-Zionist organisation" and of printing "lies".

He said the group should similarly criticise wrongdoings of other prime ministers' offspring, including a son of Ehud Olmert, whom he said had "interesting relations with Palestinians" which, he alleged, had national security implications.

The post was signed off with emojis of a middle finger and a smiling poo...

Image caption,
" ... In the spirit of these days I have a message to all the members of the Foundation for the Destruction of Israel and their allies - "

Mr Olmert's son Ariel struck back with a facetious Facebook post, introducing himself as his father's "secret gay son" who "lived with a Palestinian and fled with him to France".

He went on to say "In fact, this story is totally false. I love women, I live with one of them and we have a daughter", before accusing Yair Netanyahu of "racism and homophobia".

"Unlike you... I actually work for my living. I also make an effort to pick up my dog's poo."

Molad has also hit back. It published a letter from its lawyer to Yair Netanyahu, after he posted further attacks on the group, saying it intended to sue him for libel.

The story has been widely reported in Israeli media, sections of which have long had a combative relationship with the prime minister.

Mr Netanyahu senior has accused the press of unfairly scrutinising his family and has called on them to leave his wife and children alone.