Former president Shimon Peres addresses the World Economic Forum conference in Jordan.
(photo credit: WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM)
Responding to a report released on Monday by the Movement for Freedom of Information in which it stated that expenses incurred by the president had decreased by NIS 2 million since President Reuven Rivlin came into office a year ago, former President Shimon Peres, who is currently attending an economic conference in Congo, noted that whereas only one foreign president had paid an official visit to Israel over the past year, during the seven months of 2014 in which he was still president, he had hosted receptions and state dinners for the presidents of Sri Lanka, Romania, Peru, and Guatemala, the Chancellor of Germany and the Pope.
In addition, he also hosted the Independence Day celebrations in which 120 outstanding soldiers were honored. The president’s budget covered all other events and regular administrative and maintenance expenses at the residence plus the salaries of 132 staff in all departments including administrative staff and security.
Presidential expenses in 2013 were approximately NIS 16 million and in 2014 approximately NIS 14 million.
Rivlin came into office during Operation Protective Edge and spent the first two or three months paying condolence calls to the families of fallen soldiers throughout the country. His first trip abroad was at the expense of the Polish government when he had been in office for barely four months, which in itself was a major savings as a plane was provided by the president of Poland for a round trip by Rivlin and his entourage.
Peres traveled abroad at least half a dozen times in 2014, and in fact had to reject additional invitations because time did not permit.