Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stressed Tuesday he and his wife taught their children to respect women after his son Yair was heard in a recording of a conversation with two friends making derogatory comments about women.
"Yesterday, my son Yair rightly referred to his comments as 'nonsense.' He did it under the influence of alcohol, and he apologized for it," Netanyahu said at a lunch with NATO ambassadors.
"He said these are not the values on which he was raised at home. My wife and I taught our children to respect any man and any woman. This is why I vehemently oppose the exclusion of women and act in many ways to empower women," the prime minister continued. "These are the values we believe in, and these are the values all Israeli children should be taught."
Netanyahu also addressed his son's comment to the son of gas mogul Kobi Maimon that "My father set your father up with $20 billion."
The prime minister insisted he had no ties with Kobi Maimon. "I met him about 10 years ago, and I don't know anything about my son Yair's relationship with his son," he said.
"But I want to address the gas issue. I acted in the best interests of Israel on this issue. I didn't act against Kobi maimon. This wasn't my objective, but this was the result of my actions," Netanyahu explained.
"The Sheshinski committee (which investigated Israel's natural resources policies) conclusions did not benefit Kobi Maimon, to say the least," he continued. "The owners of gas and oil companies, including Kobi Maimon, had to pay taxes. For Kobi Maimon this means he would have to pay the state, he would have to lose hundreds of millions of shekels—and perhaps more—of his profits to the state coffers."
The natural gas plan signed in 2015 "is meant to fix a distortion. There was one field, a monopoly, in which Kobi Maimon owned 25 percent. The natural gas plan opened the gas market for competition to the point more fields are being opened," Netanyahu said.
"All shareholders in the Tamar field also have shares in the Leviathan field except for one person—Kobi Maimon. Now, of course we're opening this for competition. It completely changes (Maimon's) status and the value of his holdings. Did you know this? No. Neither did Yair, he had no idea," the prime minister continued. "He said it under the influence of alcohol, as a joke with a friend. Anyone well versed in the facts of the gas business knows exactly what I'm talking about, and that what I'm saying is true. So the claim I did things to benefit Kobi Maimon is absurd."
Commenting on the recording itself, Netanyahu said, "What I know is that the driver from the Prime Minister's office secretly recorded people, went and tried to sell this recording—it is my understanding—to at least two central media bodies for tens of thousands of dollars, and they refused. I think the public has the right to know that. Channel 2 News should say if they did purchase the recordings and how much they paid for it."