Slightly later than agreed, Netanyahus move out of PM’s residence after 12 years

After agreement with Bennett, ex-premier and his family vacate dwelling on Balfour Street overnight Saturday-Sunday, nearly a month after new government was formed

A moving truck is seen outside the Prime Minister's Residence in Jerusalem on July 6, 2021. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
A moving truck is seen outside the Prime Minister's Residence in Jerusalem on July 6, 2021. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his family have completed their departure from the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem, vacating the house on Balfour Street after 12 years.

A spokesperson for the Netanyahu family confirmed the move early Sunday morning, saying they left the residence shortly after midnight — slightly after the agreed-upon deadline.

Moving trucks were seen at the residence earlier this week. On Friday, Channel 12 reported that several vehicles were seen departing the residence — apparently cars belonging to Netanyahu’s motorcade as opposition leader.

Netanyahu’s departure comes nearly a month after he was ousted from power, in line with an agreement he reached with new Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, and his wife Sara, second right, host US president Donald Trump, left, and his wife Melania at the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem, May 22, 2017. (Avi Ohayon/GPO)

There is no law dictating how quickly a former prime minister must leave the residence.

In the past, this has been done within a few days, but the Netanyahu family has twice taken weeks to do so — following Netanyahu’s 1999 election defeat and again now.

Some voices within the new coalition have called for legislation to set out a mandated departure deadline for the future.

Bennett, who was sworn in as prime minister on June 13, is now expected to begin using the residence. The prime minister reportedly plans for his family to stay in their hometown of Ra’anana during the week, while he uses the official residence for meetings. They may join him in Jerusalem on weekends.

Vehicles are removed from the Prime Minister’s Residence, Jerusalem, July 9, 2021 (Channel 12 screenshot)

Meanwhile, the Netanyahus will move to their villa in Caesarea, while security upgrades are made at their Jerusalem apartment, at which point the opposition leader plans to spend much of his time there.

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