MK Shelly Yacimovich.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Zionist Union MK Shelly Yacimovich reported more personal expenses than any of her Knesset colleagues in 2015, according to a report of MKs’ expenses released by the Knesset on Thursday.
Yacimovich finished first with NIS 67,927, followed by Nissan Slomiansky (Bayit Yehudi) NIS 63,510, Michal Rozin (Meretz) NIS 62,352, Tamar Zandberg (Meretz) NIS 62,832, Esawi Frej (Meretz) NIS 60,438, Eitan Cabel (Zionist Union) NIS 60,362, Menahem Eliezer Moses (UTJ) NIS 59,261 and Basel Ghattas (Joint List) with NIS 56,891.
“Shelly indeed used almost the entire available budget but part of it was from last year,” the lawmaker’s spokeswoman said. “The budget is used to connect Shelly to the public.
She doesn’t waste money on an office.
She will always maintain transparency and follow the rules precisely.”
But sources later revealed that Yacimovich used about half of the sum to pay for ads promoting her messages on Facebook and Twitter.
The so-called “connection with the voters” budget is supposed to be used on renting an office outside the Knesset, cellular phones, office equipment, newspapers and learning languages.
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But there have been MKs who spent enormous sums on refreshment and sophisticated electronic gadgets.
While in the past, the Knesset published specific expenditures, which embarrassed many MKs, on Thursday, the spokesman for the parliament only revealed what the MKs used the money on in very general terms.
MK Michael Oren (Kulanu) spent NIS 5,000 on newspapers in 2015 and MK Oren Hazan (Likud) spent NIS 681 to learn Arabic.
To put the numbers into perspective, in 2014 the highest spender, Balad MK Jamal Zahalka, led the list with NIS 109,078 and two other Joint List MKs, Masud Gnaim and Basel Ghattas, spent more than NIS 75,000.
A number of MKs spent nothing in 2015, including Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, who has quit the Knesset, Construction and Housing Minister Yoav Galant (Kulanu) and two MKs who were only in the Knesset for a few weeks: Hillel Horowitz from Bayit Yehudi and Lior Edri from Shas.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was among the lawmakers who spent the least in 2015: NIS 810.
But Netanyahu and other ministers receive a separate budget from their ministries.
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