(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog responded to State Comptroller Joseph Shapira’s report on expenditures in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s residence by saying that Netanyahu must give a full account to the public about the charges raised in the report.
Speaking to contributors to Tel Aviv University, he said he was shocked that on such a day the prime minister did not feel obligated to stand before the public and respond personally to the allegations about his behavior raised in the report.
“The report shows how disconnected Netanyahu is from the public,” Zionist Union MK Shelly Yacimovich said. “How could they spend so much money on food? What did they eat there? Dinosaur eggs?” Her Zionist Union colleague, MK Nachman Shai, said every Israeli should be frustrated by the Netanyahus’ misuse of public funds.
He compared their handling of the household to that of the country.
“Netanyahu mishandled his residence like he has mishandled the state,” he said.
Attorney Eldad Yaniv, who is a Zionist Union Knesset candidate, wrote Attorney- General Yehuda Weinstein asking him to instruct the police to investigate the prime minister on charges raised in the report.
Meretz leader Zehava Gal- On said that Netanyahu’s “wanton behavior in the Prime Minister’s Residence is, more than anything else, a precise reflection of the total disconnect of this government from citizens of the state and the adoption of a banana republic’s corrupt norms.”
According to Gal-On, the possibly criminal side of the report is important, but secondary to the lack of morals and values the prime minister and his wife showed by allowing themselves “to spend money with abandon in a way we have never seen before in the history of the country, without batting an eyelash.”
Gal-On plans to propose a bill in the next Knesset that would put a limit on expenses for the Prime Minister’s Residence, allowing him to decide how the money will be spent.
“If he decides to spend NIS 12,000 on sushi and go beyond the budget, he will have to pay for the sushi from his own pocket,” she stated.
Yesh Atid released a statement saying that its leaders have faith in the state comptroller and the attorney-general and that they will carry out their duties to the best of their abilities.
“The state comptroller’s report paints a picture that the citizens of Israel understood long ago,” the statement said. “On Balfour Street in Jerusalem sits a man who is totally disconnected and for whom the real problems of the people of Israel are the last thing on his mind. What matters is the citizens, not the carpets.”
Knesset Finance Committee chairman Nissan Slomianksy (Bayit Yehudi) said he plans to hold a meeting to determine whether the Prime Minister’s Residence budget needs a more “reasonable framework,” after reading the report thoroughly.