Moving Van Arrives at Prime Minister's Residence, Signalling End of Netanyahu Era

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Haaretz
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A moving van enters the prime minister's residence compound, on Jerusalem's Balfour Street, on Tuesday.
A moving van enters the prime minister's residence compound, on Jerusalem's Balfour Street, on Tuesday. Credit: Emil Salman
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Haaretz

A moving van entered the compound of the prime minister’s official residence in Jerusalem on Tuesday afternoon, about a month after the new government was sworn in.

Until now, opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu and his family have remained in the residence. But he and Prime Minister Naftali Bennett agreed that he would be out by this Saturday, July 10.

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Nevertheless, Bennett and his family plan to continue residing in their family home in Ra’anana.

After the new government was formed last month, the legal advisor to the Prime Minister’s Office, Shlomit Barnea Farago, declined to determine a date for the Netanyahus’ departure from the residence. In the meantime, she clarified that the family’s expenses would no longer be covered by the state once the new government – and Bennett – was sworn in.

From that moment, the treasury no longer covered the family’s food, laundry, cleaning, hair, make-up or other such expenses. The home’s cleaners and cooks were laid off at that time, but the ongoing maintenance of the home will still be subsidized by the Prime Minister’s Office.

Because Netanyahu also uses his private Caesarea home for state functions such as meetings, certain expenses there have also been comped by the state. “A former prime minister is not eligible to have his expenses financed at his private residence,” Barnea Farago wrote in her decision. When Bennett took office, the treasury ceased its funding of utilities and services for the Netanyahus’ private residence.

There are no rules specifying when the outgoing prime minister must vacate the residence. The last time Netanyahu left the prime minister’s job, in 1999, he turned the official residence over to his successor Ehud Barak six weeks after the latter was sworn in. In contrast, Netanyahu’s predecessor, Ehud Olmert, left the residence just four days after leaving his post.

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