Tuesday, September 19, 2017


Startup that detects your ills by analyzing your voice wins contest


Israel's Healthymize, which uses AI to spot symptoms of diseases such as asthma and heart failure, takes first place in mHealth competition

September 17, 2017, 3:23 pm

The future of disease prevention may be in our voices.
At least that is what Israeli medical startup Healthymize believes. The firm has developed technology that uses artificial intelligence to analyze the voice and breathing of patients via a regular voice call to detect symptoms of diseases such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), heart failure and mental illnesses.
The startup’s technology nabbed first prize last week in the connected health startup contest of mHealth Israel, which touts itself as “the largest connected health community in the Middle East” with more than 4,500 active members. The four-year-old competition took place in Jerusalem, with the support of the Jerusalem Development Authority.
Healthymize’s patented technology seeks to detect disease quicker and to initiate treatment sooner, increasing chances of survival and full recovery of the patient, by turning smartphones, tablets, smart watches and home virtual assistants into continuous health monitoring devices, the organizers of the event said in a statement about the winning firm.
Healthymize also uses its AI-based technology to detect worsening symptoms or flareups and alert medical teams in time to get help to the patients earlier, possibly saving their lives.
“We’re grateful to be acknowledged for our technology and for the opportunity to improve patients’ quality of life while significantly saving on the cost burden on both patients’ families and the health system,” said Dr. Shady Hassan, co-founder and CEO of Healthymize and attending physician of internal medicine at Carmel Medical Center in Haifa. “We expect this win and the recognition in the value of our technology to accelerate our planned pilots and our deployment with connected health partners around the world.”
The conference was attended by over 500 health tech startups from around the world, including Israel, Europe and the US, the organizers said. More than 70 startups vied for the final prize. Finalists included radiology health tech startup AI DOC, which applies deep learning and AI to medical images and data, Augmedics, Neetera, Day Two, Eye Control, Dreamed Diabetes, MedyMatch and Wikaya.
Speakers at the event included former UK health minister Nicola Blackwood.
“Israel has a tremendous amount of health innovation and talent to offer the world, and I’ve had the privilege of meeting some extraordinary companies during my visit,” said Blackwood.
“Startups are helping to pave the way for a promising healthcare future, but they must be careful not to fall into the trap of ‘build it and they will come.’ For healthcare startups to succeed, they must deeply understand the market and how their solution fits into it. They should not assume the market will adapt to fit their solution.”
Founded by Levi Shapiro in 2013, mHealth Israel aims to create global awareness of Israel as a leader in health technologies and to actively connect Israeli digital health startups with global healthcare leaders.
“It is incredible to see the growth of the community and the significant global interest in the breakthroughs being produced by our innovators,” said Shapiro. “We are helping to accelerate the path towards a healthier future.”

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Should I view my stroke as punishment

While there are a number of confused and ignorant individuals who strongly disagree with Chazal and RAV Sternbuch, it is far more likely that my actions are the reason for my well being after being declared legally dead a number of months ago following a massive stroke

note rashi in Berachos 5a the suffering should match the sin in the eye of the sufferer

alsp bote shulchan Aruch YD  visiting the sick based on Nedarim 40

Rabbinate expanding marriage blacklists for ‘questionable’ Jewish immigrants

times of israel

 Israel’s rabbinical courts have in recent years ramped up their practice of blacklisting citizens they deem not Jewish, internal data released Sunday show.
With increasing frequency, the courts have placed Israelis, almost all of them immigrants with Jewish heritage, on lists that prevent them from marrying Jews. They argue they are acting preserve the coherence of the Jewish people.

The Secret Fear Plaguing The Unmarried, Untethered Orthodox Read more


Countless families and communities across the world have graciously opened their doors and tables to me. From the homes of close friends in my neighborhood to the home of an eccentric kabbalist-cum krav maga teacher in Israel, through the boisterous Chabad of Panama City and everywhere in between, every Shabbat and every holiday I’ve found a place amongst my generous fellow tribesmen and women.I’ve never once been made to feel unwelcome. But I have also never forgotten that I am always a guest.And while I pay my synagogue dues and give what I can to the communal institutions that have made me who I am today, and though I regularly host Shabbat and holiday meals of my own in my tiny apartment, there’s a little part of me that will always feel like a burden, a tiny voice in the back of my head telling me I’ve been given more than I can ever give in return.It’s not a friendly voice. A child of divorce hate to need. I’ve been able to pack a dufflebag by rote in fifteen minutes flat since age eight. I have become a self-sufficient machine; my first word was not “mommy” or “daddy” but “cat.” I’m an introvert by nature, and at the end of the day, I live in my head much more than I do in the presence of others. But the rthodox Jewish world is no place f0rr such singularity.
This point was driven home for me duringa seminar course in college on religious leadership. Our first assignment was to tell the cohort a 10-minute narrative of our life and religious journey. When it came to her turn, a fellow Orthodox Jew from a wealthy coastal town who I’ll call Beth shared the story of a woman I’ll call Rebekah, a woman from her community who had no nearby Jewish family members of her own. Rebekah would come to Beth’s Orthodox home every Jewish holiday at the behest of her parents, who made room for this unmarried woman in their hearth.
When Beth was a child, she saw Rebekah’s visits as a burden; making space in the house, making space at the table, making space in the family for a virtual interloper during the pinnacle of family time seemed like a grand intrusion. But as Beth grew older, she realized that though it was never truly painless having her home opened to someone so different each and every holiday, she gained as much from Rebekah’s presence and unique persona as Rebekah did from her family’s hospitality

Shas rabbinic council members back MK in gay wedding fiasco

arutz 7

Members of the Shas rabbinical council expressed support for an MK under fire for publicizing his attendance at a same-sex wedding.

Earlier this week, MK Yigal Guetta (Shas) told Army Radio he and his family attended the same-sex wedding of his nephew two years ago.

“I told my wife and children that we are all going to this wedding. I usually don't tell my children to come with me, but I told them that for this one, we are going. We all went, and we made them happy."

The revelation left fellow Shas MKs stunned because of its seeming acceptance in public of the violation of an unequivocal Torah prohibition, with senior Sephardic rabbis calling on Guetta to resign from the Knesset.

"We need to go to Shas leader Aryeh Deri and expel Guetta from the party,” said the dean of Porat Yosef Yeshiva, Rabbi Moshe Tzedaka. “What he is doing is crazy.”

A day later, Guetta announced his intention to resign from the Knesset.

Guetta’s resignation has yet to go into effect, however, and since his announcement, members of the Shas party’s Council of Torah Sages have weighed on the MK’s future with the party.

At least two members of the council allegedly expressed support for Guetta in a closed door meeting. One of the two rabbinic council members added that if Guetta was forced to resign, he too would also resign from the party.

“If Yigal is forced to resign, I’ll resign too. He doesn’t need to leave the Knesset,” the council member said, according to a report by Kikar Hashabbat. Associates of the rabbi, who insisted that his name not be published at this time, confirmed to Kikar Hashabbat that he indeed expressed support for Guetta.

A second member of the Council of Torah Sages also argued that Guetta need not resign, writing to the council president, Rabbi Shalom Cohen, to that effect.

In addition, a venerable Sephardic rabbi outside of the council, Rabbi Ben-Tzion Mutzafi, also sent a missive to Rabbi Cohen, writing that Guetta should not be expelled from the party.

But sources inside the council say Rabbi Cohen is insisting on Guetta’s resignation, and has refused even to meet with the embattled MK since the scandal erupted.

Rabbi Cohen is expected to meet with fellow council member Rabbi Shimon Baadani before the council adopts a binding decision.


cbs news


Saturday, September 16, 2017

Orthodoxy’s Smashing Success and Lurking Challenges


In Does Orthodox Explosion Signal Doom for Conservative and Reform?, Dr. Steven M. Cohen and other researchers present the bold reality of robust Orthodox growth and dramatic non-Orthodox atrophy and population decline, based upon these researchers’ brand new study:
(T)he truly startling situation is among Conservative and Reform Jews. (We combine them to simplify somewhat, recognizing the greater severity in numeric decline among the Reform segment). Here see that the number of 30-39 year olds amounts to just about half the number of the 60-69 year olds. If current trends continue, then, in 30 years, we’ll see about half as many Conservative and Reform Jews age 60-69 as we have today…
And the number of Conservative and Reform children do not reverse the decline. For Jews in Conservative and and Reform homes, we have 570,000 people in their 60s, but just 320,000 kids. Metaphorically, every 100 Conservative and Reform Boomers have only 56 photos of Jewish grandchildren in their wallets (or smart phones).
Turning to the Orthodox, we find wildly different trends. While just 40,000 are in their 60s, we have triple their number – 120,000 – in their 30s. And, perhaps even more astounding are the number of kids aged 0-9. They amount to 230,000 – over five times the number of people in their 60s. If 100 Orthodox grandparents gathered in shul, they could show their friends photos of 575 grandchildren on their smart phones (but not on Shabbat, of course).
Only the Orthodox are having enough children to fuel population growth. Conservative and Reform Jews are falling well short of population replacement. We may compare Reform/Conservative Jews with the Orthodox at different ages. Among 60-69 year olds, the ratio of Conservative/Reform to Orthodox is 14:1. Among 30-somethings, it falls to just over 2:1. And among the children, it’s less than 3:2, as Orthodox numbers have almost caught up to the combined Conservative and Reform numbers.
The data clearly show how non-marriage, intermarriage, and low birthrates have taken their toll on Conservative and Reform population numbers. If the Conservative and Reform movements are to arrest their declines, it means helping younger Conservative and Reform Jews find partners to marry and supporting their decisions to have children. It means encouraging more non-Jewish spouses and partners to convert to Judaism. All of these worthy goals can be furthered by more participation in Jewish day schools, summer camps, youth groups, trips to Israel, Hillel, Chabad on campus and other ways of connecting adolescent and young adult Jews to one another have. And, let‘s not forget that parents, grandparents, and rabbis all shape the Jewish lives of children, teenagers and young adults.
The demographic trends we described are already in motion and cannot be changed overnight. The American Jewish community is entering a transitional period, and in particular the Conservative and Reform movements are facing a rocky few decades that will have implications for many of the major Jewish communal institutions. We hope that a dose of hardnosed realism will motivate committed action so that we get through this period with our feet on the right path.
There is a tendency among many – including the authors of the above words – to advise “bandage” solutions to reverse the precipitous decline of non-Orthodox Jewry: get non-Jewish spouses to convert, encourage non-Orthodox students to become involved with Jewish campus groups and congregational youth groups, and so forth. Many of these “doing Jewish” solutions are certainly better than doing nothing about the problem, but they fail to address the real cause of the predicament.
In a wonderful article that addresses this point head-on, Ms. Avital Chizhik-Goldschmidt insightfully argues that it is the very unique values and commitment of Orthodox/Torah Judaism rather than its “doing Jewish” which have enabled the Orthodox community to blossom:
But it’s a fool’s errand. Our methodology for continuity is rooted in the very values that, sadly, many liberal Jews reject — our insularity, our commitment to the collective over the individual, our obligation to a divine value system. Having a few more kids, sending them to sing Shabbat songs once a week for two months out of the year, and then on a Birthright trip a few years later isn’t going to change anything. To me, that’s a band-aid on a bullet wound.
If the Orthodox experience has taught us anything, it is that complete immersion succeeds. Like the immersion in the mikveh, in which every centimeter of the body must touch water, so, too, our commitment requires totality. It is an immersion in our books; immersion in prayer services as punctuation marks for time; immersion in a 25-hour Shabbat experience without smart phones and the internet; immersion in round-the-clock Jewish education, at all costs.
Our commitment to religious values, as much as it is all-consuming, as much as it may jar with secularism, is what keeps us thriving. As the secular Zionist Ahad Ha-Am wrote, “More than the Jewish People have kept the Sabbath, the Sabbath has kept the Jews.” Perhaps it is not just the Sabbath, but all of our laws and social commitments which keep us from fading into a larger human tapestry, by maintaining a strong sense of identity that always comes first.
One can’t have the numbers of the Orthodox without the values — the two go hand in hand.
The strength of the Orthodox community is not rooted in a mere birth rate unsupported by certain principles. Our very demography is rooted in values that run deeply, and which source and sustain our numbers, in the culture of Jewish literacy and in the very texts we construct our lives around, in the way we constantly engage with centuries of Jewish conversation in our study halls and synagogues. It is even in our absolute refusal to touch a light switch on Shabbat, the way we let Judaism define every molecule of our very being — this is where the key to continuity may lie.
Until one values that all-consuming lifestyle — a lifestyle not defined by only tikkun olam and interfaith dialogue — one shouldn’t expect a demographic shift any time soon.
Of course, the sustainability and success of Orthodoxy come from Ha-Kadosh Baruch Hu, but the above is the system that He gave us for spiritual and popular prosperity.
We should not be triumphal; we should instead be immensely appreciative and ever-awed. Adherence to a Torah life has resulted in incredible communal success, while the prognostications of Marshall Sklare and others about the doom of Orthodoxy and the success of the Conservative movement (and the other heterodox movements), based on the need to adapt religion to societal values and needs, have been overwhelmingly disproved.
Despite the clear and current trends and the favorable forecast for the Orthodox community, there is room for concern, based on other trends within Orthodoxy that are not yet properly documented but are anecdotally known to all.
I do not speak about the challenges to Orthodoxy that the Open Orthodox movement presents. This movement, which is now its own separate denomination, has followed the trajectory of the early Conservative movementand has continued to move away from normative Orthodox practices and attitudes, including recently several prominent Orthodox clergy members expressing an openness to intermarriage and the cornerstone Open Orthodox congregation two weeks ago extending mazel tov wishes in its recent bulletin to two men who got “married” (and to a woman for “her aufruf”). Open Orthodoxy jolted out of the Orthodox door long ago and is not germane to this discussion.
Rather, I am concerned about trends in Modern and Charedi Orthodoxy. In Israeli society, there is a very steep attrition rate among Religious Zionist youth, and the situation in America does not appear to be so posivite either. Although the numbers are not as severe among Charedi youth, there is an increasing preponderance of stories of such youth “going OTD”, including children and grandchildren from prestigious rabbinical families. All in all, there is powerful growth, but the substantive cracks cannot be overlooked.
In Modern Orthodoxy, the factors for attrition are: 1) positive immersion in/embrace of secular culture, including its values and practices, which are frequently antithetical to Torah practice  and values; 2) an often sterile, uninspiring religious atmosphere. Some of the solutions presented fail to address the underlying issues (factors 1) and 2)) and instead resort to novel pedagogical tactics, or the introduction of Neo-Chassidus, Carlebach-style minyanim and other such endeavors, while ignoring the roots of the problem. (But please see here for a candid assessment and a refreshingly traditional solution.)
Part of the problem in Modern Orthodoxy is an expanding disconnect from the rest of Orthodoxy, and especially from the latter’s Torah leadership. Modern Orthodoxy was previously not a denomination or stream of Orthodoxy per se; it was, rather, an informal way to describe those who were more involved with the outside world and adopted several of its features, in many cases resulting in a diluted religious observance. But it was not a formal movement; rebbeim in Modern Orthodox educational institutions were more often than not of a traditional/”yeshivish” orientation, Modern Orthodoxy did not have its own formulated hashkafa, and there was no religious mandate to be Modern (with a capital M). It was just a pragmatic, situational thing.
(The above issues of Torah leadership and rebbeim are very important for another reason. When institutions insist on hiring and seeking guidance only from those of their own immediate orbit, intellectual cross-fertilization and peer review/checks and balances are sorely compromised. Veering off course, decreased quality and departure from established norms are more prone to result, and one can observe this happening in Modern Orthodoxy – sometimes on an alarming scale.)
I fear that somewhat recent trends of Modern Orthodoxy identifying itself as a distinct religious system and modus operandi will encourage, even unintentionally, factors 1) and 2) above to be more prevalent, thereby triggering even more attrition. (Irrespective of the actual arguments, this approach seems to engender the attitude and mindset of the “Jewish Father” blogger; Rabbi Harry Maryles’ critique is excellent and demonstrates where this is likely to lead.)
Although important higher education/parnassa initiatives have been embarked upon in the Charedi world, the fact that much of the educational system avoids any parnassa training until the point of sha’s ha-dechak or close to it has created some serious problems – which inevitably impact the religiosity of a portion of those caught up in the problems. (Not to mention that this strategy is bound to force people to rely on public assistance and perhaps cut the corners of honesty due to major financial pressures.) The image of new arrivals from Eastern Europe at these shores a century ago abandoning their Torah lifestyle, due to a belief that being frum meant unemployment and poverty, arises in one’s mind as tens or hundreds of thousands of young men receive not even minimal parnassa training until extremely late into the game, if at all. Not to mention lack of instruction in decent and professional communication skills.

Baruch Hashem that the Orthodox community is growing. Hashem’s pledge to perpetuate the generations of those who follow His Torah is being fulfilled before our eyes. Let us do our best to address hashkafic and educational matters in a manner that is conducive to continued sustainability, growth, and adherence to the Torah’s vision and goals.

Jerusalem - High Court Strikes Blow To Chief Rabbinate's Kashrut-licensing Monopoly

Published on: September 12, 2017 09:01 PM
By: Jerusalem Post

Jerusalem - The High Court of Justice struck a significant blow to the Chief Rabbinate’s monopoly on kashrut licensing Tuesday, ruling that restaurants and other food businesses can describe the kashrut standards they maintain as long as they make clear that they do not have a kashrut license. 
The ruling has given succor to the Hashgacha Pratit independent kashrut licensing authority, which has challenged the Chief Rabbinate’s monopoly in recent years, and broadens its scope to provide legal kashrut supervision on businesses that are not interested in the rabbinate’s services. 
“The law does not prohibit food businesses which do not have a kashrut certificate [from the rabbinate] to present a true representation of the standards they observe and the way in which the observation of these standards are inspected, including an explicit clarification that they do not have a kashrut certificate,” the justices wrote in their ruling. 
Since it’s inception, Hashgacha Pratit has used loopholes in the Law Against Kashrut Fraud to provide kashrut supervision for restaurants and other food businesses who were fed up with the often sub-standard and corrupt rabbinate service. 
Such loopholes included not describing their documentation as a kashrut certificate and avoiding using the word kosher, instead using words associated with kashrut such as “supervision” and other such phrases. 
However a decision in June 2016 by the High Court closed these loopholes and put greater restrictions on Hashgacha Pratit’s operations. The organization nevertheless adapted its documentation even further, merely alluding to kashrut standards in order to continue operating. 
Tuesday’s decision restores the situation to what is was prior to the June 2016 ruling, and will give Hashgacha Pratit much greater scope to inform potential patrons and customers of restaurants and food businesses that the food on offer is kosher.
Published on: September 12, 2017 09:01 PM
By: Jerusalem Post

Court strikes down amendment to mandatory draft law


State given one year to come up with new draft law after exemptions given to yeshiva students deemed unconstitutional.

Arutz Sheva Staff, 12/09/17 18:28

The Supreme Court struck down a 2015 amendment to the law mandating service in the IDF Thursday, ruling that the current version of the law is unconstitutional.
The expanded panel of all nine judges struck down the version of the draft law passed by the current Knesset, which extends the exemptions given to yeshiva students until 2023. Supreme Court President Miriam Naor stated that the current version of the law "suffers from inherent problems."
The court ruled that the exemptions granted to haredim are discriminatory against the communities who do not receive exemptions.
"It will not be possible to extend the law after its validity expires later this year," the judges clarified. The decision was made by a majority vote of 8-1. Justice Noam Solberg wrote the minority dissenting opinion.
MK Yair Lapid, whose Yesh Atid party has campaigned against the automatic exemptions for yeshiva students will hold a special press conference later in response to the court's ruling, together with faction chairman MK Ofer Shelah and Maj. Gen. Elazar Stern.
The haredi Knesset parties strongly criticized the court's decision. MK Menachem Eliezer Moses, the chairman of the United Torah Judaism (UTJ) party, said: "The Supreme Court once again proved that it is disconnected from the tradition of Israel, as well as its hatred for everything close to those who learn Torah or are religious."
"The Supreme Court continues time after time to intervene in Knesset decisions in a scandalous manner. And the time has come to restore it to its natural place. UTJ will consult with the religious leaders, and at the same time we will work to enact a law that will protect us from the arrogant rulings of the Supreme Court," MK Moses added. "The Torah of Israel will continue to exist and its learners will continue to sit and study in the Torah's light despite their rullings."

The troll of Balfour Street


Far from being bothered by controversial social media posts and scandals, Yair Netanyahu is basking in the attention and cultivating growing influence, say some close to the PM

September 13, 2017, 6:17 am

When US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrived at the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem during their visit to Israel this May, the couple were met at the entrance by an abashed-looking Benjamin and Sara Netanyahu.
After sarcastically welcoming their guests to “our palace,” and apologizing for the “modest” decor, the Netanyahus dropped their apparent irritation over the humble house on Balfour Street to proudly introduce their eldest son Yair. (Avner Netanyahu, the younger of the two children, was in the army at the time, the prime minister said.)
Versed in diplomatic etiquette from a young age, Yair, now 26, lavished the presidential guests with praise.
“Thank you for coming, it’s an honor to meet you. I’m a big big fan of you both, ” he told the president and first lady. “I have heard so much from my mother. She talks about you all the time,” he said to an elated Melania.
Then, before the two couples embarked on a tour of the residence surrounded by staffers and press, the younger Netanyahu offered a brief word of encouragement to the newly elected US first family and their 11-year-old son, Barron Trump, who had not joined his parents for the trip.
“You know, I can relate a lot to what Barron’s going through because I’ve been in his age in my dad’s first term,’ Yair said of the 1996-1999 premiership, when he was 5, in slightly broken English.
“And look how he turns out,” President Trump interjected, gesturing to the grown Yair Netanyahu, to the delight of the prime minister and his wife.
“It’s very, very hard,” Yair added bitterly. “You know, they [the media] were doing satires on me when I was 3 years old.”
The presence of Yair Netanyahu at the welcome reception, given that it was held at his home, was not unexpected or out of place.
But the prominence he was given in the on-camera introduction to the US president reflected his growing influence within Balfour Street and his burgeoning public profile over the past months and years. And his on-record dig at the media’s treatment of him and his family signified a tendency, much like that of his father, for cultivating (and hitting back hard against) public scandals.
“That was classic Yair,” said a Likud party activist who has worked with the prime minister’s son. “He knew exactly what to say to get everyone talking about what he wanted — him.”

Life in the public eye

Recent weeks have seen a slew of headlines over Yair Netanyahu’s personal life, his connection to a pair of corruption investigations against the prime minister, and a series of controversial social media posts that have landed him in hot water.
The most recent (and vociferous) scandal came after he posted a cartoon this weekend that appeared to have anti-Semitic themes and origins and had circulated on anti-Semitic websites.
The image, posted Saturday on Yair Netanyahu’s private Facebook profile, featured references to Jewish billionaire and philanthropist George Soros, the Illuminati and a some form of reptilian overlord. It took aim at his parents’ critics, including former prime minister Ehud Barak, lawyer and Labor party activist Eldad Yaniv, and Menny Naftali, a former caretaker at the Prime Minister’s Residence who is at the heart of allegations of wrongdoing over which Sara Netanyahu is facing indictment.

Screenshot of the cartoon posted by Yair Netanyahu, September 8, 2017. (Facebook)
The response to the image came hard and fast. US Jewish leaders decried the cartoon and its posting by the prime minister’s son. The Anti-Defamation League said it contained “blatantly anti-Semitic elements.” Political leaders in Israel also lashed out at Yair Netanyahu, calling on the prime minister to tell his son to remove the post immediately.
Just as bad, Yair Netanyahu was suddenly embraced by white supremacists and neo-Nazis, the very people his father has sworn to protect the Jewish people against. The Daily Stormer neo-Nazi website called him a “bro” and later declared itself “The World’s #1 Yair Netanyahu fansite.”
Following the widespread criticism, Yair Netanyahu did remove the meme from his Facebook page on Sunday night. But using that same Facebook account — under the name Yair Hun — that has launched numerous attacks against perceived enemies of his family, the prime minister’s son appeared unrepentant Monday, posting a number of messages slamming “left wing hypocrisy” over the response to the image.
Notably, there was no post offering an apology for the cartoon and his parents have refused to address the issue, despite numerous inquiries from the media.

The same Likud party activist, who asked to remain unnamed, said he was surprised to see Yair Netanyahu back down by removing the cartoon post. “He likes the controversy. And the thing is, he’s gotten good at playing it over the years. I guess this just caused too much of a stink,” he said.
Born in 1991 while his father served as deputy foreign minister in then-prime minister Yitzhak Shamir’s government, Yair Netanyahu, as he told the Trumps, has known no other reality than the at times-harsh public exposure of political celebrity life.
When Benjamin Netanyahu ran for prime minister in 1996, Yair, along with his three-years-junior brother Avner, joined the campaign trail as his father traipsed across the country seeking the voters that would eventually make him premier for the first time.
After the narrow election victory over Shimon Peres, the Netanyahus chose for their sons to live with Sara Netanyahu’s parents, Hava and (famed Israeli poet and educator) Shmuel Ben Arzi, instead of at the official Prime Minister’s Residence.
But Yair and Avner were never far from the public eye, appearing in numerous photo ops depicting a loving and warm first family-in-the-making and being included, to some extent, in their father’s work.
In 1998, when King Hussein of Jordan fell ill with Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a 7-year-old Yair even sent the Hashemite monarch a self-illustrated get-well card.

As the years went by and Netanyahu senior went from prime minister to political outsider to finance minister to leader of the opposition and then back again to prime minister in 2009, Avner Netanyahu — and to an even greater extent Benjamin Netanyahu’s daughter Noa, born to his first wife Miriam Weitzman in 1978 — sought a life away from the cameras, rarely appearing at public events.
But Yair appeared to thrive on the attention, and as he gained his own public persona, scandals began to emerge.
In 2012, he was sentenced to 21 days of military detention after leaving his base without permission and lying to his commander about his whereabouts. Serving on the international desk of the IDF Spokesperson’s Office, Yair Netanyahu was supposed to be on duty over the weekend when he decided to leave the base for a few hours and go home for the family’s Friday night dinner.
Two weeks later, after presenting his commanding officer a letter in which he expressed his regret and asked for forgiveness, the army decided to shorten his sentence and allow him to go home to attend the Passover seder.

After the army, while he was studying international relations at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya — he would later switch to Hebrew University in Jerusalem — the Norwegian daily Dagen broke the news that Yair Netanyahu was dating fellow student 25-year-old Sandra Leikanger.
The romantic pursuits of the prime minister’s son would not normally have made headlines. But when it was later discovered that Leikanger was not Jewish and hailed from an Evangelical Christian family, the story triggered a small public storm, with several religious groups and figures criticizing the relationship as one that promotes intermarriage and assimilation. The young couple was said to have later split. (Benjamin Netanyahu’s own second wife, Fleur Cates, was a non-Jewish woman of British origin.)

Facebook posts, and libel lawsuits

As a student, Yair Netanyahu initially kept his social media interactions secret, joining Instagram under the pseudonym Yair Hun and keeping the account “private.” When he joined Facebook in 2014, however, he turned off all the privacy settings, allowing anyone to read his posts, and making no effort to hide the fact of his true identity as the prime minister’s son, though he rarely posted until a few months ago. Once an alias to stay under the radar, Yair Hun became his nom de guerre.

Two months ago, as Hun, he made international waves by saying in a post that American left-wing groups are more dangerous than neo-Nazis, following deadly violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, during a far-right march, and US President Donald Trump’s controversial statements that “both sides were to blame” for the violence.
In July, he lashed out at a group called Sixty One, accusing it of serving an anti-Israel left-wing agenda after it criticized his lifestyle in a Facebook post of its own.
Under the headline “5 facts about Yair Netanyahu, our national son,” and accompanied by a photo of him doctored to look like he was wearing a clown suit, the organization castigated the premier’s son for living with his parents at the taxpayer’s expense, taking lavish vacations, seeking to influence his father, and encouraging a boycott of Arab-owned businesses.
The group also quoted several of Hun’s Facebook posts in which he called Arab business owners “bastards” and slammed the “left-wing authorities” for turning a blind eye to Arab-on-Jewish crime.
Hun accused Sixty One, which is run by the dovish Molad NGO, of being a “radical, anti-Zionist organization funded by the Foundation for the Destruction of Israel [a reference to the New Israel Fund, in a Hebrew play on words] and the European Union.”
“How nice that your side is always going on about incitement, demonization, character assassination and crossing of all red lines,” he wrote, before signing off with a character of a middle finger and poop emoji.
In response, Molad sued Yair Netanyahu for libel. The case is expected in court later this year.
A few days before the online brawl, Yair Netanyahu made the news over an incident in which he reportedly refused to clean up after his dog. A woman, also writing on Facebook, said Netanyahu junior flipped her the bird after she asked him to collect the family dog’s excrement in a Jerusalem park. Her accusations were also met with a bitter attack from Hun.
In September, Yair Netanyahu filed his own libel suit for NIS 140,000 ($40,000) over a Facebook post that claimed the prime minister asked the Mossad to issue Netanyahu junior a passport in a different name, which he then used to hide money offshore. The implications of the post were that the Netanyahu family were involved in money laundering or tax evasion.

Growing influence, and suspicions

In addition to highlighting the aggressive social media messages and accusing Yair Netanyahu of living a lavish lifestyle at the expense of the Israeli tax payer — it was claimed that a ski vacation abroad last year, which required a full security detail, was the most expensive trip ever paid for by the Defense Ministry — the post by Sixty One claimed that the younger Netanyahu wields growing influence over his father, particularly regarding media matters.
According to Sixty One, Yair Netanyahu was responsible for his father’s softened stance toward Elor Azaria, the IDF soldier convicted of manslaughter for shooting dead a disarmed Palestinian attacker in Hebron last year.
Several reports have pointed to Yair Netanyahu as an unrestrained voice in the Balfour residence, often edging his father to the right on key issues.

In April last year he was said to have played a central role in pushing for the controversial appointment of a media spokesman who had called President Barack Obama anti-Semitic.
A month later Yair Netanyahu was reportedly instrumental in advancing the controversial bill banning mosques from using loudspeaker systems for the Muslim call to prayer. According to reports at the time, the prime minister had told several associates that as a resident of Caesarea, where the Netanyahu’s own a house, his eldest son could not bear the noise from a nearby mosque in the neighboring Arab town of Jisr al-Zarqa.
But two former employees of the Prime Minister’s Office, speaking with the Times of Israel on condition of anonymity, both said the notion that Yair Netanyahu is a powerful influence over his father has been grossly exaggerated.
“Of course he [Benjamin Netanyahu] discusses some policies and strategies with Yair and his family, and Yair, being his son, gives his opinion,” one former employee said. “But he’s no puppet master pulling Bibi’s strings. Lots of people give him [Benjamin Netanyahu] advice. Yair is one of them. But it’s just advice.”
The other ex-staff member said that the media played up Yair Netanyahu’s role to create “a narrative of mystery and late night scheming.”
But he added that he thought Yair Netanyahu “probably likes this portrayal, even if it is bullshit.”

Yair Netanyahu’s controversial “anti-Semitic” cartoon post came in response to Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit’s announcement last week that Sara Netanyahu was to be indicted, pending a hearing, for fraud, for allegedly diverting some NIS 360,000 ($102,000) in public funds for her own use, with the specific intention of avoiding payment of personal expenses over private meals ordered to the Prime Minister’s Residence.
The looming indictment comes at the conclusion of just one in a series of graft investigations against the Netanyahu family, including two that appear to have links to the eldest son, even if he is not “at the center of things.”
In January, Yair Netanyahu gave testimony to police as part of an investigation into suspicions against his father in “Case 1000.”
His hours-long testimony focused on the allegations that the Netanyahu family received hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of illicit cigars, champagne and other gifts, including hotel rooms for Yair — from billionaire benefactors, among them Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan and Australian gambling billionaire James Packer.
The prime minister is reported to have helped Packer in seeking permanent residency status in Israel, despite him not being Jewish, so he can benefit from a tax exemption on his foreign earnings designed for new immigrants.
Yair Netanyahu was reported to have told investigators that Packer is his friend, 
and that any gifts he received were on the basis of their friendship.
Late last year, Channel 10 reported that Packer had lavished Yair with gifts that included extended stays at luxury hotels in Tel Aviv, New York and Aspen, Colorado, the use of his private jet, and dozens of tickets for concerts by Packer’s former fiancee, Mariah Carey.
The younger Netanyahu has also been linked to “Case 2000,” which explores suspicions the prime minister promised to advance legislation to hobble the Israel Hayom daily in exchange for more favorable coverage from its main competitor, the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper.
Negotiations between Netanyahu and Yedioth publisher Arnon “Noni” Mozes were said to have begun over the prime minister’s efforts to prevent the publication of a story about Yair.
Yair Netanyahu’s removal of his cartoon post is unlikely to keep him out of the headlines for long, with investigations ongoing and his social media activity still in full sway.
According to one former staffer in the Prime Minister’s Office, Yair Netanyahu is probably fine with that.
“From what I know of [Yair],” the former staffer said cautiously, “he’s not going to deny that he’s at the center of things, because he likes to be.”