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TV: PM’s wife working from private home, costing state hundreds of thousands

Unnamed PMO officials complain to Channel 13 it is unreasonable for country to pay for security at three different homes for Sara’s comfort; PMO challenges report

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara addresses their supporters on the night of the Israeli elections, at the party headquarters in Tel Aviv, on March 3, 2020. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara addresses their supporters on the night of the Israeli elections, at the party headquarters in Tel Aviv, on March 3, 2020. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

The prime minister’s wife has started working out of a family-owned home in central Jerusalem, necessitating extra security that is costing the state hundreds of thousands of shekels, Channel 13 News reported Thursday.

The report said Sara Netanyahu had begun working out of the private home on Haportzim Street, saying she could not work at the official residence on Balfour Street during the coronavirus pandemic as her husband frequently receives guests there.

The report said security officials assess securing the house for Sara’s presence is costing some NIS 200,000 ($60,000) more than had she continued working from the official home.

Unnamed sources in the Prime Minister’s Office criticized the premier’s wife, saying it was unreasonable for the state to fund security at three homes (the official residence, the second Jerusalem home and the family’s Caesarea home) simply for Sara Netanyahu’s comfort.

The PMO challenged the report, saying the cost was in the tens of thousands of shekels, and asserting that the home was “a regular working facility for the prime minister’s wife… this is part of the general security required by the Shin Bet.”

The couple has often been criticized for what is perceived as exorbitant spending on a lavish lifestyle. In 2019 Sara Netanyahu signed a plea deal in a case involving allegations of illegally procured catering services at the Prime Minister’s Residence, to the tune of hundreds of thousands of shekels.

Sara Netanyahu has long faced allegations of extravagant living, and state comptroller reports found she repeatedly tried to get funding for the couple’s private residence, including one instance when she purchased furniture, apparently for the official residence in Jerusalem, and then moved it to the Netanyahus’ private residence in Caesarea, while older furniture was taken back from Caesarea to the residence in Jerusalem.

She has also faced multiple accusations of abusive behavior by former employees, which the Netanyahus have repeatedly denied as attempts to smear them.

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