Following an exposé on how much Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s double bed
cost on his recent flight to London, he announced on Saturday night that he
would no longer ask that a double bed be installed on his plane during short
trips such as to Europe.
On Friday night, Channel 10 reported that for
Netanyahu’s flight to the United Kingdom for Margaret Thatcher’s funeral last
month, the Prime Minister’s Office had requested that a double bed be installed,
costing taxpayers $127,000.
Although there were reports that various
organizations and Knesset members might request the state comptroller or the
Knesset Control Committee to take up the issue, none of the reports were
confirmed on Sunday.
The comptroller’s and the Control Committee’s
spokespeople both denied having received any request relating to the story and
the Movement for the Quality of Government in Israel did not respond by press
time about whether it was preparing any requests for investigation.
timing of the news story, about the prime minister spending a significant amount
of money on deluxe travel, was poor for Netanyahu, as it came at a time when the
media was focused on budget cuts and the protests against them on Saturday
The Prime Minister’s Office reacted to the exposé, saying that
Netanyahu was not aware of the decision to install a bed for that flight.
Nevertheless, immediately following the report, the office released a detailed
explanation of why it was decided he should have the bed.
to the prime minister said, “It is important that he sleeps well in order to
comply with complex tasks, but it’s possible to do so at a much lower cost, and
this is what will be done.”
Two other airlines, Israir and Arkia, could
have been used for the flight and could have run the flight at a far cheaper
cost of around $300,000 (versus the $427,000 cost of the flight using El Al),
but were eliminated from any real chance of running the flight as they did not
have sufficient space on board to accommodate a double bed.
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