Responding for the first time to the explosive recording of a late-night conversation one of his sons had with two friends, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed that his son had said “ridiculous things under the influence of alcohol.” According to Netanyahu, his son’s remarks about the gas deal were nothing more than a “bad joke.”

Netanyahu and his son Yair

Netanyahu and his son Yair Photo Credit: Avi Ohyaon/GPO

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu commented Tuesday for the first time on the scandalous audio recording of his son Yair, which was aired last night. “My son Yair said ridiculous things under the influence of alcohol,” Netanyahu stated.

“My wife and I taught [our children] to respect every person as they are and to respect every woman as they are,” he added. “This is the reason I firmly oppose the exclusion of women and work to empower women.”

Netanyahu was asked about the bombshell recording that revealed, among other things, the close friendship between Yair and the son of gas tycoon Kobi Maimon at a conference in Jerusalem attended by NATO ambassadors. “I have no connection to Kobi Maimon,” Netanyahu clarified. “I think I met him once in my life a decade ago and I’m not familiar with Yair’s connection to his son.”

“It was a bad joke,” Netanyahu said regarding Yair’s remarks about the gas deal. “He was teasing a friend.” In the recording, which is from 2015, Yair is heard making an apparent reference to the gas deal to his friend Nir Maimon: “Bro, you’ve got to spot me. My dad did an awesome deal for your dad. He fought in the Knesset for it.”

“Bro, my father now arranged for you a $20 billion show and you can’t spot me 400 NIS [about $116]?” he added, repeating the sentence several times.

Netanyahu then criticized the Prime Minister’s Office driver who recorded his son’s conversation. According to Netanyahu, the driver tried to sell the recording to at least two well-known media sources for thousands of dollars before it was aired last night.