Israel Election Updates / Labor's Herzog: Netanyahu Disrespecting U.S. to Further Political Interests

44 days to go: Livni attacks Netanyahu on alcohol spending; Meretz party calls for investigation into Netanyahu's bottle recycling scandal.

AFP

Latest political summary: Israel's political parties submitted their Knesset slates to the Central Election Commission on Thursday, and can no longer make changes to their lists or merge with other parties ahead of the March 17 election.

Former Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren, a Kulanu party candidate, and MK Zahava Gal-On, leader of the leftist party Meretz, blasted the announcement of 450 construction tenders for West Bank settlements. Read the full story

Latest updates:

3:28 P.M. Livni attacks Netanyahu on alcohol spending

Zionist Camp co-chair Tzipi Livni slammed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday for the alleged excessive expenditures at the Prime Minister's Residence, saying that Netanyahu's monthly alcohol budget amounts to the month's salary of a million Israelis.

Tomer Appelbaum

"This week it was published that Netanyahu spent 100,000 shekels of public funds over two years on alcohol. Do you know how much that is in a month? 4,200 a month," Livni said.

Livni, who was speaking at a public event in the central Israeli city of Rishon Letzion, was referring to recent Israeli media reports that the Prime Minister's Residence in Jerusalem spent some 100,000 shekels ($25,450) on alcohol, mostly wine, over two years.

"The price of the alcohol Netanyahu drinks in a month is like the monthly salary of nearly one million workers in Israel, but they use it for rent, city tax, water, electricity, education, and food," Livni said. (Haaretz) Read the full story 

11:30 A.M. Meretz leaders calls for investigation into "bottlegate"

Zahava Gal-On, leader of the leftist Meretz party, calls on the attorney general to investigate Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the reports that his wife Sara forced staffers in their official residence to hand over thousands of shekels of bottle deposit money.

"[Benjamin] Netanyahu's silence and his refusal to properly address claims over illegal use of funds are dragging Sara Netanyahu into the center of the public debate," she said in a statement. "He is hiding behind her instead of taking responsibility for his actions as prime minister."

If the allegations are found to be true, she said, Netanyahu should withdraw his prime ministerial candidacy. (Barak Ravid and Ilan Lior)

10:57 A.M. Herzog: Netanyahu dispecting the U.S. for political gain

Labor leader Isaac Herzog accuses Netanyahu of "behaving irresponsibly and disrespectfully toward the U.S." to further his political agenda.

Speaking at a political forum in the central Israeli city of Holon, Herzog further blamed Netanyahu for Israel's economic woes.

"We mustn't forget that he has served as prime minister for the past six years, and the responsibility for the housing shortage, the hungry children and Israel's grave situation is on him." (Jonathan Lis)