After Media Frenzy, Netanyahu Freezes Bloated Ice Cream Budget

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has cancelled a state-financed contract worth NIS 10,000 for annual ice cream purchases at his official residence.

Netanyahu on Thursday evidently agreed that the expense was extravagant and therefore unacceptable.

The prime minister's decision was announced hours after a news report revealed that his bureau received special permission to commission a local ice cream shop to stock the leader's official residence with cold treats.

No government tender was issued for the deal under the pretext that the shop carried ice cream flavors which "cater to the prime minister's taste," referring to vanilla and pistachio.

The Prime Minister’s Bureau stressed that the deal was nothing more than "a master contract meant to accommodate guests at the prime minister's official residence, and did not necessarily mean the entire sum would be spent."

The findings of the report exposing the contract, published by the financial daily Calcalist, drew criticism from Labor leader Shelly Yacimovich.

"If there's no bread, let them eat ice cream," Yacimovich wrote on her Facebook page on Thursday evening, in a play on the quote often attributed to France's Queen Marie Antoinette, a leader supposedly oblivious to the hardships of her constituents.

Yacimovich's post was accompanied by a Photoshopped image of Netanyahu holding an ice cream cone.

She further accused Netanyahu of imposing budget cuts on teachers, social workers and police officers while spending tax payers' money on ice cream.

She pondered, "Was that what he meant when he said there are 'no free meals'?"

'Says we need to trim the fat; spends NIS 10k in tax funds on ice cream.' Image posted by Labor leader Yacimovich on Facebook.
An archive photo of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, February 3, 2013.Credit: AP

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