By: Rahul Adhikari
October 12 2023
Social media posts insuinating that the Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu sent his son to join the army amid the ongoing war. (Source: X/Facebook/Modified by Logically Facts)
The viral image was taken in 2014, when Avner Netanyahu, PM's youngest son, joined Israel Defense Force to complete his mandatory military service.
What is the claim?
Amid the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict, an image has been circulating on social media claiming that the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, sent his son to join the Israeli armed forces to serve the country as a soldier. The image in question shows the Israeli PM standing with a woman and a young man.
Several users shared the photo on Facebook with the caption, "Israel PM Netanyahu and his wife, the parents send their son to serve the country as a soldier to defend God's land. Victory is sure and certain, the angel of God is with him. Amen! Remember, parents raise them sons, but God makes them heroes. God bless Israel." One such post had gained over 320 likes at the time of publishing. A similar post on X (formerly Twitter) has garnered one million views. An archived version of the viral post can be found here.
Screenshots of viral posts on X and Facebook. (Source: X/Facebook/Modified by Logically facts)
However, the image is from 2014 and is unrelated to the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas.
What did we find?
A reverse image search revealed that the image was captured in 2014 when PM Netanyahu's youngest son, Avner Netanyahu, joined the Israel Defense Force (IDF) to complete his mandatory military service. According to a report by The Times of Israel published on December 1, 2014, the woman and the young man in the viral photo are PM's wife, Sara Netanyahu, and son, Avner Netanyahu. The report stated that Avner's parents and his elder brother, Yair Netanyahu, who had already completed his service, went to see him off at Ammunition Hill collection point— the main location where new recruits gather to board a bus to an induction center near Tel Aviv.
The report quoted PM Netanyahu as saying, "We are moved just like every mother and father who watch their son go off to the army. We are full of pride and naturally worry. Everyone knows this, every home in Israel, and we are no different. I told Avner to take care of the state and to take care of himself."
Screenshot of the news report dated December 1, 2014. (Source: Times of Israel/Screenshot)
The Israeli media outlet Jerusalem Post also published the image in an article on December 1, 2014, reporting similar details. The report stated that Avner had started his three-year mandatory army service in the IDF's Combat Intelligence Collection Corps.
According to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), every Israeli citizen above the age of 18 who is Jewish, Druze, or Circassian is required to serve in the military, with some exceptions. Enlisted men are expected to serve for a minimum of 32 months, and women are expected to serve for a minimum of 24 months.
Avner Netanyahu completed his mandatory military service in December 2017. According to a report published in December 2017 by Israel National News, PM Netanyahu had then said, "Avner completed a significant period in the army. Three years ago we hugged you with your conscription and today we are excited with the opening of a new chapter in your life."
We found no reports of the Israeli prime minister sending his sons to join the Israeli armed forces again amid the ongoing conflict with Hamas.
The Israel-Hamas war
Since the attack by Hamas on Israel on October 7 and the Israeli response, Gaza's death toll has crossed over 2,000. According to reports, Israel has been mobilizing its troops, amassing 300,000 reservists near the Gaza border, even as Hamas militants hold almost 150 hostages in Gaza Strip, which is facing a humanitarian crisis with no power, water, and fuel as Israel declares complete siege of the strife-torn region.
An old image of PM Benjamin Netanyahu sending off his younger son to complete mandatory military service in the IDF in 2014 has been shared without context and linked to the ongoing war. There are no reports of Netanyahu's sons joining the military again amid the current Israel-Hamas war. Therefore, we mark the claim as misleading.