Published On: Fri, Jun 17th, 2016

Netanyahu spent $1.67 million in six-day trip to New York

The prime minister spent $1, 600 on a personal hairdresser and $1, 750 for a makeup artist during a trip to New York in October. He also spent over $1, 800 on food, and $20, 000 to move furniture.

Benjamin Netanyahu

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spent more NIS 6.5 million ($1.67 million) of public funds on a six-day trip to New York, including $1, 600 on a personal hairdresser, according to a newly released expense report.

The trip to the UN General Assembly last fall also included $210 in laundry services, $1, 861 in meals, $1, 750 for a makeup artist, and nearly $20, 000 to move furniture out of hotel rooms. In addition, $64.20 for wine, $1, 750 for refrigirating services, $60.66 for Yedioth Ahronoth newspapers, $1, 145 for refreshments in meetings, $175 in tips for porters.

Attorney Shachar Ben Meir obtained the expense report after suing Netanyahu’s office and the Foreign Ministry. He said that he requested the information in late October from Netanyahu’s office and was then referred to the ministry. After he was told to wait for three months, he sued both offices in a Jerusalem court.

“It’s my money and I want to know what is being done with it, ” he said.

The report, which he shared with The Associated Press on Thursday, did not include charges for the prime minister’s wife, Sara Netanyahu, on the trip. Police have already recommended that she be indicted for inflated household spending and misusing state funds on private meals and care for her ailing father.

Last month, a Jerusalem labor court awarded $30, 000 in damages to a former employee of Mrs. Netanyahu who claimed he faced yelling and unreasonable demands.

In 2013, the premier was chided for spending $127, 000 in public funds for a special sleeping cabin on a flight to London. He also ran up a $2, 700 bill that year for ice cream, mostly vanilla and pistachio.

The court documents note that the trip also incurred a charge of $1.5 million for a flight, although it did not specify whether the flight was for the Netanyahus only or for staff as well.

“When the prime minister goes abroad, his office continues working from abroad, ” said officials in the Prime Minister’s Office. “Meanwhile, the Shin Bet requires us to take up an entire floor (at the hotel) for security reasons, and some of the rooms are made into offices with computers, printers, security equipment and communication equipment. Another room is turned into a meeting room for the prime minister’s entourage.”

Regarding the hefty sum for a hairdresser, the officials said that “in New York terms, $1, 600 for a hairdresser for five days is not a lot of money. If the prime minister has a meeting in the morning, he needs to put on makeup and have his hair done, and repeat that before evening meetings. He appears in front of people and cameras and gives interviews and at the end of the day, he represents Israel.”

Ynet News and AP

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