Prime Minister Naftali Bennett fired back at a report of his expenses on Sunday, saying that “I am not Bibi” as his bureau broke down spending at the premier’s private residence.
After Channel 13 News aired a segment by journalist Ayala Hasson-Nesher saying that expenses in the home come to 50,000 shekels ($15,325) a month, Bennett’s bureau released a detailed list of the household’s expenses.
The family spends some 24,700 shekels ($7,570) a month on food, with other sums going to paying staff wages, maintenance and cleaning, utilities, housekeeping and landscaping services for their Ra’anana home. According to the Prime Minister’s Office, Bennett’s household expenses reach 272,000 shekels a year ($83,370).
Bennett’s office stressed that such expenses are several times lower than those of the Netanyahu family, who lived in the official Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem while former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was in office. Bennett chose not to move into the Balfour Street house.
“This is a maneuver to paint everyone as corrupt, but I’m not Bibi, Gilat is not Sara, my children are not Yair,” Bennett said in response to the Channel 13 report, referring to Netanyahu’s family members. “The expenses of the prime minister’s residence have dramatically decreased during my term. The attempts to present me as a hedonist are simply funny. I am here in order to work and serve the nation of Israel.”
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Netanyahu’s Likud party responded to Bennett’s dig, saying that “As opposed to the official residence in Jerusalem, Bennett’s private residence is not used for any official events, such that all of the spending on food is just for their personal matters. Counter to Bennett’s statement, the Netanyahu family’s personal take-out expenses did not exceed 1,300 shekels ($400) a month – a tenth of the take-out expenses of the Bennett family.”