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Netanyahu son’s love life sparks uproar News prompts debate

JERUSALEM, Jan 28, (AP): The love life of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s son is setting off sparks — in Israeli politics. News that 23-year-old Yair Netanyahu is dating a statuesque non-Jewish Norwegian university student was not only a juicy item for the gossip pages. It also unleashed an uproar from religious lawmakers opposed to intermarriage, and prompted debate over the Jewish state’s relationship with the outside world.

According to reports in Norwegian media, the Israeli prime minister boasted to his Norwegian counterpart, Erna Solberg, about the relationship during a meeting at the World Economic Forum in Davos last week and informed her that his son recently visited Norway with his girlfriend, Sandra Leikanger.

Aphoto of the smiling young couple appeared in both Israeli and Norwegian newspapers. On Monday, the leader of the ultra- Orthodox Shas party said he believed the relationship actually caused Netanyahu and his wife great “heartache.” Arieh Deri told a local radio station the relationship was no mere personal matter because Netanyahu is a “symbol of the Jewish people.” “I know friends of mine who invest tens of millions and more, hundreds of millions to fight assimilation in the world,” Deri told the Kol Barama station. “If God forbid it’s true, woe to us.” Other groups called on Netanyahu to put a stop to the relationship. Even the prime minister’s brother in law, Hagai Ben-Artzi, took to the airwaves to speak out against it. “Yair should know that if he does such a thing, if he doesn’t break off the relationship, then ... he is spitting on the graves of his grandmother and grandfather who loved him so much and raised him,” Ben-Artzi told Kikar Shabbat, an ultra-Orthodox news site

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