In wake of ‘Bed-gate,’ PM’s budget made public

NIS 5.43 million budgeted for Netanyahu's residences in 2012, 80 percent hike from 2009.

Binyamin and Sara Netanyahu in Ottawa 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Blair Gable)
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 Information.
According to the organization, the information was provided – after months of requesting – just hours after the group petitioned the court.
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 held there.”
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. •