Binyamin and Sara Netanyahu in Ottawa 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Blair Gable)
The operating budget for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s official and
private residences jumped some 80 percent from 2009 to 2012, according to
figures made public on Monday following a request by the Movement for Freedom of
According to the organization, the information was provided
– after months of requesting – just hours after the group petitioned the
The numbers also came just two days after the public outcry that
followed reports the Prime Minister’s Office paid NIS 500,000 to install a
sleeping cabin with a double bed on a plane taking Netanyahu and his wife to
London last month for Margaret Thatcher’s funeral.
According to the
figures, some NIS 5.43 million was budgeted for operating and maintenance costs
for Netanyahu’s official residence in Jerusalem and private residence in
Caesarea in 2012, as opposed to NIS 3.02m. in 2009.
The state paid NIS
480,000 for food and official hospitality in 2012, as opposed to NIS 214,000 in
2009. Cleaning and maintenance costs in the two residences soared from NIS 553,000 in 2009 to NIS 1.2m.
in 2012, and the
cost of buying housing utensils and furniture jumped from NIS 61,000 in 2009 to
NIS 108,000 last year.
The Prime Minister’s Office released a statement
in response saying that the numbers included “the expenses for official events
held in the prime minister’s home and working expenses for the many meetings
According to the statement, in recent months the PMO’s
accountant established a separate budgetary framework for official events and
work meetings that take place in the prime minister’s residence. •