Netanyahu missing Mandela memorial for cost reasons

2013-12-09 06:46

Jerusalem - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has decided not to attend a memorial service for Nelson Mandela this week because it is too expensive to travel to South Africa, Israeli media reported Sunday.

Netanyahu had notified the South African authorities that he would fly in but cancelled his plans at the last minute due to the costs involved - $2 million for his transport and security alone, public radio and the Haaretz daily reported.

"The decision was made in light of the high transportation costs resulting from the short notice of the trip and the security required for the prime minister in Johannesburg," Haaretz reported.

The Israeli leader has been in the spotlight recently with revelations that taxpayers dished out almost $1 million last year to maintain his three residences.

The media highlighted a bill of $23 000 for water to fill a swimming pool at his villa in Caesarea in the country's north.

More than 50 heads of state and government have confirmed their intentions to travel to South Africa to pay their respects to the anti-apartheid hero who died last Thursday, South Africa's foreign ministry has said.

US President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle will be among 80 000 people attending a vast memorial service Tuesday in the Soweto sports stadium that hosted the 2010 World Cup final.

The commemorations will culminate with Mandela's burial on December 15 in Qunu - the rural village where he spent his early childhood.

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas has announced that he will attend Tuesday's memorial service.

Israeli leaders have paid warm homage to the former South African president who died after a long illness at the aged of 95.

Netanyahu paid tribute to Mandela as "a man of vision and a freedom fighter who disavowed violence".

But some commentators have noted that Israel maintained close relations with the apartheid-era regime until the United States said the ties could threaten Washington's generous annual military aid to the Jewish state.

After his release from 27 years incarceration in 1990, Mandela, who first visited Israel and the Palestinian territories in 1999, was an ardent supporter of the Palestinian cause but also a firm believer that Israelis would ultimately take the path of peace.

"In my experience I have found Jews to be more broadminded than most whites on issues of race and politics, perhaps because they themselves have historically been victims of prejudice," Mandela wrote in his 1994 autobiography.

South African Jews played a prominent role in the struggle against apartheid, among them late communist leader Joe Slovo, who headed the ANC's military wing.

  • Sickup Andfed - 2013-12-09 06:53

    I think our airport taxes might have been the final staw.

      Thulani Mdletshe - 2013-12-09 07:46

      They are all landing at the military airport.

      Fanie Viljoen - 2013-12-09 07:58

      What ever, either you attend it or not, for Israel it will not be a money factor, for sure!!

      Utopian Idealist - 2013-12-09 08:00

      Dear Israelis, Please stop complaining. $1 Million dollars to maintain his residences? That,s nothing our president spend $27 Million dollars on upgrades to his home. So when it comes down to it, we have a much bigger thief as our leader than you do so whaaaaaa.

      Walter Oldnal Latham - 2013-12-09 08:12

      The $ figures quoted for Netanyahu are shadowed by the amount of money spent on Nkandlagate, the Guptas and the corruption committed by various ANC MPs and their subordinates. At least the Israeli prime minister has shown some sensitivity to public opinion; something that egg-head is oblivious to. Vote in DA next year!

      Anele Bungane - 2013-12-09 08:48

      Too expensive to travel to SA? What a joke! From a country with enough money to terrorize and bomb it's neighbors at will, build and maintain an oppressive wall around the oppressed and downtrodden Palestinians. A huge and unregulated arsenal of nuclear weapons. Israeli intelligence has enough money to go around the world assasisinating its opponents and they don't have the money to come here. Israel's long standing support for apartheid is well known and documented that is why this move comes as no surprise. The Palestinians live under siege with all sorts of travel restrictions and they would love to travel however that is all at the mercy of Israel.

      Jan van Niekerk - 2013-12-09 08:50

      Security costs are high because Israel's enemies are Mandela's friends.

  • Renegade - 2013-12-09 06:55

    Better!! Don't need u here

      D'Bongs Meant - 2013-12-09 07:36

      Ohh I love you Renegade..

      SIMPLYSOUTHAFRICAN - 2013-12-09 07:45

      Nice, nobody will miss him.

      Attie Gerber - 2013-12-09 08:13

      no renegade. this is a man that makes sense and not idiots like our govt that will rather spend millions if not billions.

  • Eben Johannes Labuschagne - 2013-12-09 06:56

    But it is not too expensive to attack other countries and kill innocent people. Shame on you

      Boichoko Dichaba - 2013-12-09 07:19

      To them aquiring more bomb and taking land from the needy poor palestine is better than doing good to the world

  • Mo Patel - 2013-12-09 06:56

    Netanyahu still the most pro apartheid leader in the world.that's why he won't come to South Africa.bast%#€!!!!

  • Emma Sanderson - 2013-12-09 06:58

    I think this is mostly a security concern. Let's face it we can't even manage our borders.

      Emma Sanderson - 2013-12-09 07:45

      @ Seetletso, I think you left your manners at home this morning. How exactly am I sabotaging efforts? You assumed I am racist, what does that say about you? I do not have a problem with govt personally. I find it extremely concerning that it is all too easy for people to enter this country via the borders and that boy scouts are probably more skilled than our army. I just want it to improve. PS we can manage the borders through proper training. I also think we should send some of our troops into the game reserves to find the poachers and protect our rhinos. It will be a great field exercise win-win for everyone.

      Antony John - 2013-12-09 08:30

      Emma, just ignore Mr Kgosiemang. He's a bigger racist than Eugene Terreblanche ever was. He'd be happy to see all white people dead. Wouldn't you Seetletso? I pity him, must be hard carrying such a huge chip (block) on his shoulder. Seetleso do you ever wonder why Mr Mandela is world famous, because he was a loving, forgiving man. Men that hate and are bitter, like you, remain small and fade away into history as nobodies. Get over yourself mate, that hate is going to kill you.

      Gya - 2013-12-09 11:10

      Oh yes but are you saying its ok to direct missiles at innocent Israeli population?

      Fanie Kuhn - 2013-12-09 16:32

      Seetletso, I am just watching Govt for example making a criminal mess of the education system, whereby they shut down the teacher training colleges, gave the white teachers packages and told them to voetsek, allowed a highly unionised teacher cohort, introduced a totally discredited 1st World system in OBE, got rid of the ethos of discipline and hard work THROWING AWAY THE BEST POSSIBLE OPPORTUNITY TO UPLIFT THE PREV. DISADV, and now when our education system ranks at #142 out of 144 countries, they collectively strike their foreheads and exclaim: "Eish, why is our education system so bad". However, the ANC's polls show that teh better educated the voter, the less likely he is to vote ANC, so this is probably a pre-planned strategy, since it ties in so well with voter retention.

  • LiveYourOwnLife - 2013-12-09 07:03

    Finally a president that doesn't waste the taxpayers money!!! Are you listening Zuma?

      rjsauta - 2013-12-09 07:18

      Check how much he spent on himselve to the extent of being investigated by the Israeli Knesset. He is actually a spendthrift.

      Musa Jumpshot Khumalo - 2013-12-09 07:19

      lol, so you choose to ignore all other detail such as spending $23000 on water in to fill the pool??? none so blind....

      Simon Mwando - 2013-12-09 08:02

      soyou think its about money idiot? its about mandela stance on palestine rodent

      Dalai Rama - 2013-12-09 10:57

      @Richard, @Musa, at least his parliament have the nerve to investigate him. Here they hide!

  • Russell L Tait - 2013-12-09 07:07

    His the only one not bothered about the hype....good for him.

      gerasimos - 2013-12-09 07:25

      I agree. Good comment.

  • Catherine Theron - 2013-12-09 07:21

    the Prime Minister is wise. Madiba was a good man, fought the struggle and won. I don't think madiba wanned this big debacle over his death. He was like any other person when he died, old. Its natural. And surely, he is not GOD, or JESUS. So, people really taking the whole thing out of context. And Israel have to defend themselves against the suicide bombers. And afterall, Israel is GOD's chosen children and the rest who really, honestly believe in GOD through JESUS CHRIST. Madiba believed, and his vision for SA is not the same as Zuma and followers. Pitty he was not younger.

      Hassan Shaik - 2013-12-11 21:55

      So you recon Israel has the right to defend themselves against suicide bombers...? Wake up Catherine, the Palestinians are not the opressors here, they are the oppressed! And God's chosen children? Who murder other human beings, rape their daughters and wives, restrict fellow human beings from access to water, jobs etc..? funny i thought all humans are equal, which school did you attend mam? Mainstream media is hiding away the truth from individuals such as yourself.

  • Derrick Dawson - 2013-12-09 07:21

    Ha, he must be jewish

      Lorna Murdoch-Eaton - 2013-12-09 23:10

      So racism is out but anti-Semitism not?

  • Petr Eriscsson - 2013-12-09 07:31

    He is just scared he will have to shake the Iran delegation hands and be polite

  • Derek Yegambaram - 2013-12-09 07:38

    Maybe he should consult the Gupta's , they managed to fly in a whole wedding party on a lot less

  • Elliot Menziwa - 2013-12-09 07:39

    Netanyahu is already in hot water for wasting taxpayers' money...he is the last person to lecture anyone about cost saving....

      Lorna Murdoch-Eaton - 2013-12-09 23:13

      Except his waste was nothing like as high as our dudes' and he is actually LISTENING to the criticism of it!

  • Tuyez - 2013-12-09 07:49

    Is it a pubic radio or public radio.

  • Tshivhombela Fhatuwani - 2013-12-09 07:49

    Security concern?

  • Stefan Van Der Spuy - 2013-12-09 07:50

    Maybe it's got something to do with Mahmud Abbas attending...

  • arthur.salvado - 2013-12-09 07:51

    You govern such a small country and I wonder why you need so much security ??

  • Mike Hahn - 2013-12-09 07:52

    Maybe he doesn't waste money like our leeches.

  • Rachel Chitehwe - 2013-12-09 07:54

    What is a pubic radio?

  • Charles Kubhayi - 2013-12-09 08:09

    We will make it without Israel leader so he must not think that we will be disappointed by his absence. Minus one problem.

  • Joseph Motloung - 2013-12-09 08:24

    We don't that war criminal on our soil

  • George Pito - 2013-12-09 08:32

    Huge security cost involved also, then suppose all the terrorist friends going to be here.

  • Mohamed Cassim - 2013-12-09 08:56

    Interesting that the President of the Palestine, the country oppresses by Israel, doesn't seem to be restricted by Travel Expenses - Is it really the cost of travel or the fear of facing the world in a land that that has risen above the laws that discriminate against some of its people?

  • Andile Khoza - 2013-12-09 09:05

    only $1 million to maintain his three residences? he should ask advice from the two-headed zuluboy

  • Hennie Boshoff - 2013-12-09 09:05

    Not only is he making money out of the circus as all money does flow back to the circle, but he not spending a dime to join them is a smart idea just in case people don't like the circus anymore. If I am a circus owner, I would also stay away to save money I suppose as I know what to expect and would rather create more circus's around the world with the time and money I suppose!

  • Dave Ueckermann - 2013-12-09 09:07

    hey zuma , see , IF NO MONEY , DONT SPEND IT. Hope u at least can understand that

  • Brett de Lange - 2013-12-09 09:18

    "Pubic radio"??????? Surely must be a typo of epic proportions?

  • Skeyi Denilson - 2013-12-09 09:25

    he is right we don't want the killers here to kill krestu was not enough to him now he kill the palestina's the guy is qualifier to atend hennie boshoff funeral not madiba

  • Zaahid Muhammad - 2013-12-09 10:03

    Israel apartheid.......I think TATA would have appreciated you not coming....war criminal...

  • Feeble Bongo - 2013-12-09 10:12

    Holy sh.t! My comment that says he's got his priorities right gets removed? N24 has definitely lost the plot.

  • Lawrernce Nxasane - 2013-12-09 10:44

    Release PAC and AZAPO cadres who are still in jail they are freedom fighters too. What a shame why must they suffer this indignity and humiliated by their own brothers in struggle.

  • Dalai Rama - 2013-12-09 10:53

    That's austerity at its best. Something our globetrotting African leaders can emulate.

  • sesom - 2013-12-09 11:52

    I agree... Why waste money...Rather give it to the poor...

  • Grant Kippa Freedman - 2013-12-09 12:13

    Israeli has bigger problems to worry about !

  • Kagiso Tladi Lesane - 2013-12-09 12:22

    atleast he cares,he cnt use taxpayers money jst to cum nd listen to sa campaighners

  • Kevinwilliams - 2013-12-09 14:39

    So Stay where U are. Who asked you anyhow ??

  • Kevinwilliams - 2013-12-09 14:43

    I do understand this is an opportunity for extremists to get their hands on some leaders...I think it is more about his own security than the financial issue

  • Yugan Naidoo - 2013-12-09 15:01

    Spends millions of dollars on wars that kill innocent people but u can't afford to come to south Africa . Joke

  • Dean Berzen - 2013-12-09 15:03

    I am Jewish and am disgusted and appalled that the President of Israel will not attend the memorial due to high costs!!!!! Come on. Every other state president has accepted to attend and most of those countries are a lot poorer than Israels'!!!!! Embarrassed as a jew at present.

  • HASANIM@ME.COM - 2013-12-09 16:20

    I will attend on your behalf, just stay at home

  • Clifford Peter - 2013-12-09 20:18

    But why do they have to go to an extent of lying to justify their non attendance. They know what our position towards them is. They are avoiding a diplomatic embarrassment. Our allies in the Middle East are Palestinians finish and klaar.

      gerasimos - 2013-12-09 21:07

      It's Jewish wisdom/humour. You know the person making an excuse and the excuse is so bad that you also knows that he has just shown the finger. But honestly it really is about keeping costs down..... its only the burial of a media mogul and not that relevant to Israel so why waste the money? Brilliant!

  • gerasimos - 2013-12-09 21:00

    This guy knows how to show the finger.....bully for him he is not falling for all the hype

  • Helen Kay - 2013-12-10 16:00

    Incredible - we all know it's a cop-out and/or a lie. What happened - did El Al refuse a discount (LOL) - but - to be honest - who cares anyway???

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