Claim Benjamin Netanyahu’s psychiatrist took his own life appears to come from a 2010 satirical blog

17 November 2023
What was claimed

The psychiatrist of Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has taken his own life.

Our verdict

This comes from a satirical blog post in 2010 and there’s no evidence it is true.

Multiple posts are circulating online claiming the psychiatrist for Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has recently died by suicide. But this claim appears to come from a satirical blog post in 2010 and there’s no evidence it is true.

Several posts, which appear on Instagram, Facebook, X (formerly Twitter) and TikTok, share a screenshot from an article dated 6 November with the headline: “Israeli Prime Minister’s psychiatrist commits suicide”, giving the impression this happened recently. 

However, the article itself, published by a Pakistan-based media outlet, goes on to say the incident took place in 2010 and that Mr Netanyahu was supposedly cited as the cause of the death in a “suicide note”, as well as “shocking diary entries” and an “unfinished manuscript”. 

The same claim has also been reported by a number of outlets both recently and in 2010 when it allegedly happened. However, we could not find any mainstream publications reporting this. 

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Where does the claim come from?

The claim appears to have come from an entry on a blog, Legalienate, published in June 2010. The blog describes itself as sharing “News, Commentary and Satire”.

The author of the blog told fact checkers at Associated Press that the post was intended to be satire. 

Full Fact contacted the author of the blog for comment and will update the article if we receive a response.

Two subsequent blog entries on related topics appear to be satirical. One refers to a “shrinkicides” after another psychiatrist for a member of the Israeli government supposedly ended their own life. The other claims “the Israeli Air Force bombed a flotilla of psychiatrists”, which allegedly made “the world recoil in horror”. Full Fact could find no reliable reports of either event.

No reliable evidence

Mr Netanyahu’s alleged psychiatrist is named in all the reports as Moshe Yatom. He is described as a “prominent Israeli psychiatrist”, but Full Fact has not found any reliable sources with information about either his life or death. In fact, the only search results for the name, alongside ‘psychiatrist’, are related to this claim. 

Moreover, a single photo supposedly of Moshe Yatom is being shared in multiple obituaries. This same photo also appears in a LinkedIn profile under the same name.  However, despite the psychiatrist supposedly dying in 2010, this LinkedIn account was created in 2016. Both the account’s contact information and profile photo were also updated just “over one year ago”. 

Full Fact has contacted the account itself as well as the only company listed on the profile, Rafael: Advanced Defense Systems, and will update this piece if we hear back. 

We’ve seen misinformation relating to the Israel-Gaza conflict appear in many different forms, including fake subtitles, altered official documents and misleading videos. You can find more of our work countering false claims on the subject  here

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