Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s son Yair is threatening to sue the “Free Israel” NGO for using an image posted on Netanyahu Jr.’s Facebook page, showing him with his Norwegian girlfriend Sandra Leikanger.
Free Israel decided to use Yair’s and Sandra’s picture to push their message that every human being has the right to marry whomever he or she wishes. The campaign came in response to a right-wing campaign launched by an organization called Shalhevet (Flame) against the wedding last night of an Israeli Arab and his Jewish betrothed who converted to Islam.
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But Yair Netanyahu refused to become anyone’s mascot, and he posted the following message on the Free Israel page:
“Shalom, I am Yair Netanyahu. I demand that you remove my picture which you’ve been using without my permission. It’s a private picture from Facebook which exposes you to a lawsuit. I expect it to come down today. Especially since I disagree with the content of your campaign.”
Then he added: “If it’s not coming down in the next hour I’m starting legal proceedings.”
Back in January, the story made a ripple in Jewish publications and in Israel. The caption under the image reads: Sandra (25) from Grimstad is romantic partner with the son of one of the world’s foremost terror targets.
Yair Netanyahu, son of the Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, is dating a non-Jewish girl from Norway, media in Sweden reported after the Prime Minister informed Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg of the relationship at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
Yair and Leikanger met at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, where both of them are studying. Her family is from an evangelical Christian community, and Sandra’s sister lives in Israel.
After the Norwegian press had picked up the scoop, Leikanger removed the couple’s pictures from her Facebook page. Now, apparently, Yair put it back.
The press also couldn’t find out whether there had been special security arrangement in place while Netanyahu Jr. was visiting her in Norway.
Back in january, The newspaper Grimstad Adressetidende asked Conrad Myrland, head of the With Israel for Peace (MIFF) organization what he thought about the young couple’s relationship, and he said, “This is good news and it’s nice that Netanyahu could tell Norwegian journalists about it” during his visit.
Micky Gitzin, CEO of Free Israel, said the choice of Yair’s and Sandra’s picture was made to stress the fact that “You can’t choose love.”
Gitzin expressed disappointed over the fact that rather than appreciate his positive message of support, the younger Netanyahu chose to threaten a lawsuit over an image that has been published before in the gossip columns.
Eventually, “Free Israel” removed the image.
Of course, religious and right wing publications in Israel are taking the opposite view on the story. In January, the Ultra-Orthodox Yated Ne’eman criticized Netanyahu Sr. for speaking proudly with the Norwegian Prime Minister about his son’s relationship with a gentile woman.