Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s son Yair under scrutiny for non-Jewish girlfriend Sandra Leikanger
The couple, who met last year, are accused of being a "stain" on the Israeli Prime Minister
Monday 19 May 2014
Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister, has faced increasing scrutiny recently over his handling of the faltering Middle East peace process. But now ultra-orthodox leaders in Israel are turning up the heat for a very different reason: his son, Yair’s burgeoning relationship with a non-Jewish woman.
Yair, 23, and Sandra Leikanger, 25, met last year at the Interdisciplinary Centre, near Tel Aviv, where they both study. In recent weeks they have been going increasingly public with their relationship, attending a Constitution Day bash at the Norwegian embassy in Tel Aviv on Friday. Based on pictures published by Israel’s Ynet news site, they seem a happy couple.
But ultra-orthodox leaders, who see their role as to ensure the survival of Judaism by safeguarding it from intermarriage, are less than pleased. And they are blaming the elder Netanyahu for his son’s deviation from the true path. Rabbi Yosef Deitch, from the United Torah Judaism party, said: “This is a stain on the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister is supposed to represent the Jewish nation and to guard Jewish identity.”
Ynet reported that Ms Leikanger comes from a pro-Israel family and that several of her relatives had converted to Judaism. Asked if Yair’s involvement could hurt his father politically, Uri Dromi, former spokesman for the assassinated premier, Yitzhak Rabin, said it might have done during the 1960s. Back then, he said, it was considered disgraceful if someone married a non-Jew. “I think that we became a normal country in the sense that your private life is yours,” he said.
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