SHANGHAI – The Chinese government will pick up a tab reaching into the tens of thousands of shekels for a presidential suite in the posh Shanghai Portman Ritz- Carlton Hotel, a sign of the importance the Chinese give to Netanyahu’s visit, an official in the Prime Minister’s Office said Monday.

The official was responding to a report putting the cost of the four room, 500-meter suite at some NIS 70,000 a night. The true figure, the official said, is many thousands of shekels less than that.

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Besides, he said, the room is not costing the Israeli tax payer a shekel.

According to the official, it is protocol for the host country to pay for accommodations for official visits, and it was the Chinese – not the Netanyahu family – that picked this particular hotel, located in the up-scale heart of the city. The official said that the Chinese will pay for the room, just as Israel paid for the King David presidential suite for US President Barack Obama when he visited Israel last month Netanyahu was joined on this trip by his wife and his two sons.

The PMO official stressed that the younger Netanyahus’ participation did not cost the tax payer any money either, since the family paid privately for their airfare.

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