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Monday, May 27, 2024

Israel soldiers angry at Netanyahu’s US-based son – Times

The prime minister’s son has “abandoned” his country for Florida, several reservists have said

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s son Yair is not among the 300,000 reservists mobilized for the war with Hamas but remains in Florida doing nonprofit charity work. Several Israeli soldiers feel this is a betrayal, according to the Times of London.

“Yair is enjoying his life at Miami Beach while I’m on the front lines,” one soldier, a volunteer facing Hezbollah on the border with Lebanon, told the British newspaper. Requesting anonymity for security reasons, the soldier complained that “the people responsible for this situation” aren’t shouldering their share of the burden, fueling “distrust and anger” in the ranks.

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“Our brothers, our fathers, sons, are all going to the front line, but Yair is still not here. It does not help build trust in the leadership of the country,” the soldier told the Times.

Another soldier, who volunteered and is preparing to deploy to the southern front against Hamas, said he flew back from the US and left his job, life, and family.

“There is no way I can stay there and abandon my country, my people, at this critical time. Where is the prime minister’s son? Why isn’t he in Israel?” the soldier said. “It is the most uniting moment for us as Israelis in our recent history and every single one of us should be here right now, including the prime minister’s son.”

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All Israelis are subject to compulsory military service and reserve call-up until the age of 40. Yair Netanyahu is 32. However, his service in the Israel Defense Force (IDF) was as a spokesman, not a combat soldier.

The prime minister’s son moved to the US earlier this year, after making social media posts criticizing Israelis who protested against his father’s judicial reforms as “terrorists” and accusing the US of funding the turmoil.

His Instagram page now raises funds for NGOs helping some 120,000 Israelis evacuated from the north and the south of the country since the Hamas attack. A photo used by the Times showed Yair Netanyahu handling aid packages at the warehouse of Yedidim USA, a Jewish charity in Fort Lauderdale.

Close to 360,000 Israelis have been called up, or volunteered, for military or support service in the “war” Netanyahu declared on Hamas in the aftermath of the October 7 Hamas incursion, which resulted in an estimated 1,400 Israeli deaths. The government in West Jerusalem has vowed to “wipe out” the Palestinian group based in Gaza.