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Jan 28, 2014 08:34 AM EST

Benjamin Netanyahu’s Son Dating Non-Jewish Norwegian; Sparks Outrage Among Orthodox Jews


It seems like Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has to now turn his attention towards personal matters, shifting focus from the political issues.

According to media reports, Netanyahu's 23-year-old son, Yair Netanyahu dating a non-Jewish Norwegian is sparking anger among religious lawmakers and followers of Orthodox Judaism. Orthodox Judaism prohibits intermarriage.

Sandra Leikanger, a 25-year-old Norwegian college student, is currently the love interest of Netanyahu's eldest son. Yair, a university student, is the son of the prime minister's third wife, Sara. He met the Norwegian communications major while studying at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) in Herzliya, Israel.

The news of the relationship surfaced after the prime minister spoke about it at length with his Norwegian counterpart, Erna Solberg, at the World Economic Forum in Davos last week. Netanyahu also updated Solberg about his son's recent visit to Norway with his girlfriend, according to reports in Norwegian media.

Arieh Deri, the leader of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, said that this news can't be treated as a personal matter as Netanyahu is a 'symbol of the Jewish people.' Other groups are also urging Netanyahu to put a stop to the relationship.

"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, a local radio station. "If God forbid it's true, woe to us," NY Daily News reports.

Yair's uncle has also expressed his discontent about his nephew's relationship.

"If they get married," said Yair's uncle, Haggai Ben-Artzi, "I'll walk around in the street and tear the hair off my head."

The two of them are speculated to have been together since the first week of July 2013, the L.A. Jewish Journal reports. A reporter working for the news media is reported to have seen the couple at a classy nightclub in Tel Aviv along with a group of lean chicks in bodycon dresses.

Apparently, the girl's older sister has converted to Judaism and lives in Israel. The two girls have reportedly been brought up in an Evangelical family in the picturesque Norwegian port town of Grimstad.

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