Yair Netanyahu is the 26-year-old son of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
As such, his life is defined by both luxury and discomfort.
Luxury, because Yair lives at the prime minister's residence in Jerusalem and gets to attend grandiose functions. Discomfort, because Yair is always accompanied by a security detail from Israel's Shin Bet security service. As I've explained, close protection can be a major inconvenience to the children of political leaders.
Still, Yair is now at the center of a rather unusual scandal.
It began last weekend when Yair took the family dog, Kaiya (who has an amusing penchant for biting Mr. Netanyahu's political opponents), for a walk. Accompanied by a protection officer, Yair and Kaiya strolled around the block. At some point, however, Kaiya apparently decided to donate a small but smelly gift to the neighborhood.
Unfortunately for Yair, a familiar face was watching when he failed to pick it up.
It was Talila Amitai, a neighbor who regularly clashes with the Netanyahu family. In a Facebook post, Amitai claimed that when she informed Yair that Kaiya had pooped, he responded only with a one fingered salute. Yair, Kaiya, and the protection officer then apparently walked off, leaving Kaiya's excrement to decorate the street.
On paper, or on the pavement, this doesn't look good for Yair. After all, it is incredibly uncouth to fail to clean up after one's pet (incidentally, ease-of-clean-up is one reason why tortoises are good pets).
Yet, it seems there might be more to the story than first appears. Because Amitai might simply be a troublemaker. According to a spokesman for Yair:
"[Amitai] regularly — every time she sees Yair or another family member walking with Kaiya — approaches them without reason, intimidates, offends, and acts aggressively towards them without any interaction from the other side. Yair does not know if Kaiya did defecate as the woman alleges or not, as he was occupied with a telephone call when the woman approached him aggressively in her usual way. In light of previous bad experiences with her, Yair immediately left the area."
Don't get me wrong, the phone call would be a poor excuse for leaving dog poop behind. Nevertheless, I'm suspicious that Amitai is as saintly as she claims. And to be fair to Netanyahu-the-younger, some of the criticism he receives is ridiculous. He is, for example, an increasing target of abuse by left-wing groups who despise him for his parents. Correspondingly, we cannot say with confidence whether or not Amitai's allegation is true.
Ultimately, the truth of this scandal now rests in the political eye of each particular beholder.