Netanyahu Spends $127,000 of Israeli Taxpayers' Money on Airplane 'Resting Chamber'

After report in Channel 10, the Prime Minister's Office responded saying that the prime minister needed to rest after a hectic day and before representing Israel at international forums.

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spent $127,000 of Israeli taxpayers' money on a "resting chamber" that was especially constructed for him and his wife on their five-hour flight to London last month, Channel 10 reported on Friday.

Once Netanyahu was informed of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's death, he announced that he would travel to the funeral with his wife Sara. According to the report, his office issued a tender to Israeli airlines to charter a jet for 75 passengers to take the Netanyahus to London and return them to Israel the next day.

The Prime Minister's Office asked that the plane be fitted with 22 business class seats and a resting chamber – a double bed surrounded by four walls and a door. This request was especially costly because only El Al's larger planes are fitted to allow for such arrangements. El Al won the tender with a bid of $427 thousand.

If the Prime Minister's Office were to forgo the resting chamber, Israel's smaller airlines such as Arkia and Israir could have participated in the tender. A simple calculation showed that the resting chamber raised the price of the flight by $127,000.

"The protocol for flying the prime minister to meetings abroad hadn't changed and is the same as was during previous administrations. In accordance to security directives, the Israeli premier only travels with Israeli airlines," the Prime Minister's Office said in a statement. "In accordance to the prime minister's orders, the cost of the trip, which lasted less than 48 hours, was minimized."

Netanyahu's office went on to explain the necessity of the room, citing his hectic schedule.

"The prime minister left for London at the end of Independence Day after he attended a reception for exceptional soldiers, the International Bible Contest, a reception for foreign diplomats, and the Israel Prize ceremony. The flight was scheduled for midnight, after a long day at these events. The next day, the prime minister was to represent the State of Israel in a number of official international events, including a meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and a meeting with British Prime Minister David Cameron. With this in mind, it is warranted that the prime minister be given an opportunity to sleep during the night between these two busy days," the Prime Minister's Office explained.

Air Force One-I? Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara may soon have their own private plane Credit: GPO

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