Israel Bonds: 'Bibitours' allegations are false

Organization says it knowingly funded Sara Netanyahu's travel, "according to protocol," denies Channel 10 report of double-billing.

Netanyahu smiling 311 (photo credit: Amos Ben Gershom/GPO)
Netanyahu smiling 311
(photo credit: Amos Ben Gershom/GPO)
State of Israel Bonds - Europe denied on Thursday the allegations made by Channel 10's Raviv Druker that money meant to fund Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's travel was used so his wife, Sara, could join him, unbeknown to the organization.
"Israel Bonds has invited Netanyahu and his wife to events abroad according to the acceptable protocol observed by previous governments and ministers," the organization said in a statement.
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"Thus," the Bonds spokesman explained, "we invited Netanyahu and his wife to London in 2004, and we were happy to have him participate in an event during the war in August 2006."
The organization explained that Netanyahu is an especially popular lecturer, and that Israel Bonds was prepared to pay for his wife to travel in cases when Netanyahu received funding from the Knesset.
Two weeks after first airing the “Bibi Tours” allegations, Channel 10’s Druker alleged Wednesday night in another episode of the news-expose show Hamakor that on two occasions before he became prime minister, Netanyahu billed different organizations for the same flight.
According to the report, in one of the cases, Netanyahu attended a fundraising event in the US in 2006 for the Ashdod Medical Center, billing it $8,237 for the flights. He also allegedly billed the Jewish Heritage Foundation the same amount for flights taken on the same dates.
If correct, this would contradict statements made last week by Netanyahu’s wife, Sara, that there was no double-billing involved in flights Netanyahu took.
According to Wednesday’s report, one organization funded Netanyahu’s flight and another organization funded his wife’s flight, even though both invoices were signed under Netanyahu’s name.
Netanyahu’s lawyer David Shimron responded by saying that the then-opposition leader acted according to the law during all his trips.
“There was not one agora of double-billing,” Shimron said. “A number of different organizations divided the travel expenses for the prime minister and his wife.
This is an untrue report, with the goal of defaming and harming the prime minister; otherwise it is hard to understand why the channel is determined for the second time to broadcast a report that is not true.”
Shimron said the Netanyahu family will file a libel suit over the report broadcast two weeks ago, as well as the one aired Wednesday night.