Knesset rejects amendment for canceling tax exemption for Netanyahu

"During an unprecedented economic crisis, it doesn't make sense for the prime minister to enjoy a total tax exemption for benefits provided to him by the state coffers."

Government-Knesset Liaison Dudi Amsalem spoke on behalf of the government and criticized MK Mickey Levy for proposing the amendment, November 4, 2020. (photo credit: DANI SHEM TOV/KNESSET SPOKESPERSONS OFFICE)
Government-Knesset Liaison Dudi Amsalem spoke on behalf of the government and criticized MK Mickey Levy for proposing the amendment, November 4, 2020.
(photo credit: DANI SHEM TOV/KNESSET SPOKESPERSONS OFFICE)
A proposed bill which would cancel tax exemptions for payments, benefits and services provided to the prime minister in his private residence was rejected in the Knesset plenum in a preliminary reading on Wednesday. 
In June, the Knesset's Finance Committee approved a bill proposed by MK Miki Zohar from the Likud that exempted the prime minister from paying tax on services provided to him as part of his position as prime minister, including expenses for his work as prime minister at his private home in Caesarea.
MK Mickey Levy from Yesh Atid proposed an amendment to the original bill that would cancel the tax exemption given to the prime minister, which was rejected on Wednesday with 41 MKs voting in favor and 50 MKs opposing the amendment.
"During an unprecedented economic crisis, it doesn't make sense for the prime minister to enjoy a total tax exemption for benefits provided to him by the state coffers, including maintaining his private residence and everything in it," the proposed amendment read.
MK Levy criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for insisting on arranging tax exemptions for himself, as the rest of the country is facing an economic crisis.
"Instead of taking care of over one million unemployed citizens, 80,000 failing businesses and entire markets that were completely destroyed, the prime minister is busy with only one thing - arranging tax exemptions for himself. People are losing their whole worlds, we don't have a state budget for over two years and the deficit has surpassed NIS 150 billion a long time ago," Levy said while presenting the Knesset plenum with his amendment.
"The prime minister is simply disconnected. He has no values, no morals and no integrity. That's why we need a law that will create a clear distinction between his private and official residence. It's time to clearly distinguish Caesarea and Balfour," he added.
Levi called on MKs from Blue and White to vote in favor of "a just and moral proposal that will protect the public coffers."
"I don't expect much from my friends from Likud, but I call on you - my friends from Blue and White - this man doesn't care about you," Levi added.
However, despite Levi's address, Benny Gantz, Gabi Ashkenazi, Avi Nissenkorn and most Blue and White MKs were absent during the vote in the Knesset plenum, The Jerusalem's Post's sister publication Maariv reported.
Cyber and National Digital Matters Minister and Government-Knesset Liaison Dudi Amsalem responded on behalf of the government and criticized Levy for proposing the amendment.
"The prime minister works 24/7. According to my calculation, he makes NIS 35 per hour. There are waiters who earn more, and I'm not even mentioning the salaries of the police commissioner, Mandelblit and the judges. But you're trying to portray him as a hedonist. Have you got no shame? He can make more than half a million dollars from one lecture alone," Amsalem said.