The fracture between the daily life and challenges of regular citizens and the country’s leaders continues to spiral out of control. According to statistics released last week by the National Insurance Institute, 69% of Israelis who registered for unemployment benefits since the outbreak of COVID-19 remain out of work. A total of 1.06 million applications for unemployment assistance were submitted to the NII immediately prior to and during the coronavirus outbreak. Approximately 325,000 people have returned to the workforce since the gradual reopening of the economy by the government, which began April 19, but that leaves 740,000 active unemployment benefit claims. Even many of those who have returned to work face reduced hours, shattered businesses that need rebuilding and loss of income.Let’s contrast that with the news that came out of the Knesset Finance Committee on Sunday. According to details of the national-unity government deal hashed out by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz that were presented to the parliamentary panel for approval, the state is expected to pick up retroactive tax benefits worth hundreds of thousands of shekels for Netanyahu that cover the cost of income tax he owes on upgrades to his vehicle, renovations at his private home in Caesarea and other expenses dating as far back as 2009.According to Channel 13, Netanyahu owes the Tax Authority roughly NIS 600,000 for the period between 2013 and 2018 on various upkeep expenses like gardening, water and electricity at his home in Caesarea. In 2018, a bill that passed with support of his Likud Party absolved the prime minister of paying future taxes on his private homes.As part of the unity deal, the Finance Committee is also being asked to approve costs that enabled the creation of the alternate prime minister with the same conditions as the prime minister.The document given to the Finance Committee states: “The Finance Ministry will handle all the expenses to maintain and operate the Prime Minister’s Residence, including its staff, the prime minister’s expenses as well as those of his family, the costs for having guests and any other expense necessary.”It sounds more like a farcical episode from the sitcom Polishuk – a program starring Sasson Gabai about a dysfunctional government and minister out of touch with reality – than the actual reality that this government is trying to bulldoze through, without regard for the hardships its constituents are facing. But this charade doesn’t stop at Netanyahu. The document also states: “The alternate prime minister will be allowed to inform the director-general of the Prime Minister’s Office that his private residence, be it in Jerusalem or outside the city, will be used as an alternative residence to that provided by the country itself, but it will have identical conditions to those of the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem.”Both Gantz and Netanyahu will also enjoy storage service of their belongings while they are living in their official residences, and to top it off, the transport of those belongings will be paid for by our taxes.To his credit, Gantz reportedly told the committee that he was waiving the right to an official residence granted him as the alternate prime minister and will continue to live at his private home.But Netanyahu seems to be adamant that he has coming to him all that he is asking for, the state of the economy and the unemployed be damned.“The prime minister is not asking for any special terms,” Netanyahu’s Likud Party said in a statement. “The Finance Committee will require Netanyahu to pay tax exactly like previous prime ministers. There was an outrageous and personal attempt to charge Netanyahu with tax that was not required of any other prime minister. There will not be one law for Netanyahu and another for the previous prime ministers.”We believe Netanyahu should be treated like all his predecessors. But that does not explain the need for the APM and the benefits creating that role afford. To make the approval of such an expensive package contingent on having a functioning government – at such a crucial time when we’re far from out of the coronavirus woods and economic crisis – is irresponsible and a slap in the face to the hard-working citizens who are scraping by and those who aren’t surviving and are on the verge of losing hope.