Netanyahu under fire for alleged pricey expenses

2013-12-02 19:00
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (Lior Mizrahi, AFP)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (Lior Mizrahi, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Jerusalem - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's penchant for scented candles is setting off a stink, with media and politicians accusing him on Monday of extravagantly spending public money.

According to an expense document obtained by a civil liberties group, Netanyahu spent $1 700 on scented candles, $23 300 on flower arrangements and $31 600 on gardening at his official residence in Jerusalem, among other costs totalling about $909 000 in 2012.

The group obtained the document following a freedom of information request.

The criticism is the latest in a string of similar reproaches against Netanyahu, who is often accused by Israelis of leading a lavish lifestyle while failing to address the economic ills of the middle class.

The report threatens to embarrass Netanyahu, whose government raised taxes and slashed services earlier this year to decrease a swelling budget deficit.

Coupled with a rising cost of living, Israelis have for years complained that they struggle to make ends meet. Just two years ago, hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets to protest the country's high cost of living.

"When the prime minister presents such inflated and absurd amounts in the expense sheet to the nation, he can't look at his citizens in the eye and swear that there must be cuts to their welfare, health care, security and education," wrote Arye Aplatoni in the Maariv daily.

Netanyahu, who is known to enjoy puffing on cigars and sipping cognac, has been chided for his lifestyle in the past. Earlier this year, a TV station reported that Netanyahu spent $127 000 in public funds for a special sleeping cabin on a five-hour flight to London.

Netanyahu was forced to stop buying ice cream from his favourite Jerusalem parlour after an Israeli newspaper discovered his office was spending $3 000 a year for the treat.

In the new expense document, Netanyahu was also shown to spend $11 800 on laundry and $41 600 on catering at his official residence.

Expenses for his vacation home in the upscale town of Caesarea, where he and his family stay on weekends, were also disclosed.

The water bill there amounted to more than $22 000 and the electrical bill hit $7 390. The Netanyahus have another private apartment in Jerusalem, where spending amounted to just over $1 000.

In a statement, the prime minister's office said the official residence is used throughout the year to host dignitaries and world leaders, as well as meetings with many participants.

While media reports said his spending was roughly $300 000 over budget, the statement said this year has seen a decrease in expenses at the official residence by 16%.

The news made front pages and was the topic of radio talk shows throughout the day. A cartoon in the Yediot Ahronot daily showed Netanyahu and his wife Sara lighting lemon grass, vanilla and strawberry scented Hanukkah candles.

Opposition leader Isaac Herzog said Netanyahu's continued sprees may violate the trust of his constituents.

"The public will conduct its own introspection and just as they sent him to the prime minister's residence they can also remove him," he told Israel Radio.

- AP

Read more on:    benjamin netanyahu  |  israel

Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24

  • Thursday Camps Bay - 11:47 AM
    Road name: Victoria Road Southbound
    SLOW TRAFFIC between Bakoven and Llandudno
  • Thursday Epping - 11:42 AM
    Road name: N7 Vanguard Drive
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bofors Circle
More traffic reports...

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now! - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

BlackBerry Curve 3G 9300

Keep it together Text. Email. Social. With all the different ways to...

From R1399.00

I'm shopping for:


You may be required to travel or get information for your job. This may be restricting in some way or something may slow more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.