PM cuts demand for in-flight-bed amid media storm

Following exposé over $127,000 spent on PM's double bed on flight to UK, PMO says bed won't be installed for short flights.

May 12, 2013 19:55
1 minute read.
Benjamin and Sara Netanyahu at Margaret Thatcher's funeral in London, April 17, 2013.

Netanyahu Thatcher funeral 370. (photo credit: Screenshot CNN)


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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.

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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.

The 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 night.

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.

Sources close 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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