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Netanyahu seeking millions for 2nd office granted to former PMs

Finance Ministry asks Knesset committee to approve request for NIS 3 million over two years for opposition leader, who already has one state-funded office

Opposition leader MK Benjamin Netanyahu in the Knesset on October 11, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Opposition leader MK Benjamin Netanyahu in the Knesset on October 11, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The Finance Ministry on Wednesday asked the Knesset Finance Committee to approve millions of shekels in funding to cover the costs of a office for MK Benjamin Netanyahu that he is entitled to as a former prime minister.

The ministry asked for NIS 3 million ($930,218) over two years, with 1 million intend for expenses in the current year and the rest for 2022.

A breakdown of the demands showed NIS 310,284 for rent, another NIS 136,048 for maintenance, NIS 62,478 for parking, NIS 62,478 for cleaning services, and NIS 36,00 for catering and event hosting.

By law, former prime ministers are entitled to a state-funded office for a period of five years after they leave office so that they can continue to run their affairs. However, according to the report, the intention of the law is for prime ministers who leave public office. Netanyahu, as leader of the opposition, already has a state-funded office that goes with his position.

If the request is approved, Netanyahu will get a second office, along with staff and two aides.

Netanyahu was prime minister for nearly 12 consecutive years until he was ousted from office in June following March elections.

Shortly before leaving office, he requested that the state pay tens of thousands of shekels to fix the broken air conditioning system in his private home in Caesarea, but was refused, the Kan public broadcaster reported in August.

The Netanyahu family has often been accused of misusing public funds.

Netanyahu ended his tenure as prime minister on June 13, when he was replaced by Naftali Bennett.

He and his family moved out of the official prime minister’s residence in Jerusalem in the early hours of July 11, close to one month later. The family then largely stayed in hotels, in part due to the broken air conditioning system in Caesarea as well as Netanyahu’s late nights working in the Knesset. During that time, an apartment the family owns in Jerusalem was brought up to the necessary security standards.

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