Thirteen neighbors of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett in Ra’anana filed a petition to the High Court on Thursday to force him to move from the city to Jerusalem.
Many of the prime minister’s close neighbors in Ra’anana have fumed against the boosted security that has closed roads and rerouted traffic near his home in the residential neighborhood. They are also angered at the disruptions caused by regular protests outside the Bennett family home, which they said have “taken the residents of the neighborhood as captives,”
In the court petition, the neighbors demand that Bennett and his family relocate to the official Prime Minister’s Residence on Balfour Street in Jerusalem “as has been custom and accepted for more than 70 years since the establishment of Israel,” according to Channel 12 news.
Since taking office in late June, Bennett has largely remained in residence at his family home in the city north of Tel Aviv. While the prime minister originally indicated that he would remain in Ra’anana indefinitely, in order to keep his children in their schools, he later said he would sleep at the official residence three to four nights a week.
According to a Channel 13 report last month, Bennett’s decision to have his family remain in Ra’anana could cost taxpayers some NIS 12-15 million ($3.6-4.6 million). That one-time cost would go toward building security stations, roadblocks, cameras and other infrastructure necessary to protect the prime minister. Further costs are expected to go toward renting nearby apartments for security officials.
Despite the fact that Bennett was sworn in on June 13, former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his family did not vacate the residence until the early hours of the morning on July 11. But the Shin Bet has reportedly demanded an extensive security overhaul of the residence before Bennett moves in.