Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said on Wednesday he intends to pay for all of his family's food expenses, after a report revealed the sums the state pays for the costs in his private home.
"I always believed that listening to criticism is not dishonorable," Bennett wrote in a press release. "Though my conduct was in line with the regulations, I am aware of the public feeling and therefore notified my office that from now on all of my family's food expenses will be paid for with my private account."
Earlier this week, Bennett disclosed for the first time the operating expenses for his official residence, after journalist Ayala Hasson revealed them in a report on Channel 13 television.
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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,” Bennett said.