PM Netanyahu and his wife Sara. Ice cream lovers
Photo: Amos Ben Gershom, GPO
Favorite flavors: Vanilla and pistacio (illustration)
VIDEO - Israel's prime minister, it appears, is a real ice cream lover. That must be the reason why the Netanyahu family requested – and received – a special annual budget of NIS 10,000 (about $2,700) for the frozen dessert.
Video courtesy of jn1.tv
The Calcalist financial daily reported Thursday that in the past year, Benjamin Netanyahu asked the staff at his official residence to purchase his ice cream at the nearby "Metudela" ice cream parlor in Jerusalem.
One tasting led to another, and Netanyahu quickly became a fan of the store's pistachio and vanilla flavors.
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Although the section in the state budget relating to the maintenance of the prime minister's residence does not include an ice cream clause, the Prime Minister's Office staff managed to get the approval of the office's Deputy Director-General Ran Yishai for an allotment of NIS 10,000 for that purpose.
And how much ice cream can one buy for NIS 10,000 a year? The price of 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) of ice cream at Netanyahu's favorite store is about NIS 60 ($16), meaning that the budget allows the prime minister and his family to purchase about 14 kg (31 pounds) of ice cream a month.
Another problem the office's staff managed to overcome has to do with the fact that service provider to the prime minister's official residence must be selected through a bid. As Netanyahu asked for ice cream from a specific store, which "corresponds to his personal taste," according to the request submitted, the governmental tender board exempt the store from entering a bid.
Ice cream is not the only thing the Netanyahu family spends quite a lot of money on. In 2011, Israeli taxpayers paid some NIS 2.46 million ($670,000) for the routine maintenance of the prime minister's residence, including cleaning, clothing and food.
In 2010, the Netanyahus spent NIS 710,000 ($193,000) on cleaning services, NIS 263,000 ($71,500) on food, NIS 70,000 ($19,000) on take out, and NIS 50,000 ($13,500) on clothing.
Labor Party Chairwoman Shelly Yachimovich commented on the Calcalist report on her Facebook page Thursday: "Hi, it's Shelly. If there's no bread, let them eat ice cream. Should we laugh or cry?"
Following the report, Netanyahu declared that he would terminate the agreement with the ice cream parlor without delay. "It's an unreasonable expense which I find totally unacceptable," he said.