Finance Ministry sources: Tour had no educational message

‘Educational tour’ for staff at PM’s office featured ‘escape room’ games, party

News site publishes itinerary of taxpayer-funded trip to Herzliya hotel, with performance by a local singer and ‘dance party into the night’

A general view of the Prime Minister's Office building in Jerusalem (Orel Cohen/Flash90)
A general view of the Prime Minister's Office building in Jerusalem (Orel Cohen/Flash90)

A taxpayer-funded “educational tour” last week for hundreds of workers at the Prime Minister’s Office was light on education and heavy on entertainment, according to a report Sunday.

A copy of the itinerary published by the Ynet news site showed most of the two-day event was spent at the Dan Accadia Hotel in Herzliya, with the exception of breakfast the first morning and a visit to the Planetanya space museum.

Besides meals, the other activities listed on the schedule included a performance at the hotel by local singer Rotem Cohen, a “dance party into the night” and “escape room” games.

The news site said the tour was counted as regular work days for employees of the Prime Minister’s Office and that some workers were reimbursed travel costs.

Finance Ministry sources quoted in the report said the tour had no educational message and was apparently scheduled to use unspent budgetary funds before the year’s end. They also said it was unclear why Yair Pines, the director-general of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s office, approved the trip.

“All employees of government ministries are entitled to participate in an educational tour once a year… as are employees of the Prime Minister’s Office,” Bennett’s office said in response.

Along with the visit to the space museum, the Prime Minister’s Office said the tour included activities on the legacy of Israel’s first premier, David Ben-Gurion.

“The budget for the trip was limited in advance and not fully utilized,” it added.

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