Yair Netanyahu, son of Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu said that officials in the police and the State Attorney’s Office were guilty of treason for “making up criminal charges” against his father.
“Everyone can look up the laws in Israel and see what the punishment for treason is," the young Netanyahu said in an interview. "They don’t include imprisonment or deportation," he said alluding to the death penalty
Israel has seven different offenses filed under treason, of which three could result in capital punishment including impairing the sovereignty or integrity of Israel, assisting the enemy during war, resolving to commit treason, assisting with the escape or escape attempt of enemy prisoners during war and spreading disinformation and propaganda against Israel.
However, the law also stipulates that such a punishment could only be decided during times of war. Israel carried out capital punishment for treason against IDF officer Meir Tobianski in 1949, who was later exonerated.
Netanyahu claimed that the allegation of criminality leveled against his father were part of a coup to remove a democratically elected leader, knowing full well he was innocent.
“They knew they were accusing an innocent man who happened to be the Prime Minister elected by the Israeli people,” Netanyahu said. “That means democratic elections were being overturned, which is also known as a coup and treason against the state.”
Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu was indicted in 2019 and is currently facing charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust in the Jerusalem District Court.
After outraged responses appeared on social media in the wake of his comments, Yair Netanyahu tried to walk back the severity of his words. “I still find myself surprised from the fake news and character assassination targeting me by the leftist media,” he said on Twitter.
“Everyone who learned how to read in school, can easily understand that the message I aimed to deliver was about the seriousness of the crimes committed by the officials, according to the law in Israel and nothing more. I didn’t call to harm anybody,” he said.