The outgoing government is closing out its final days and is expected to have an especially soft landing: It appears that in the past four years, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu led the most ‘frequent flyer’ government the country has known.
Israeli ministers buckled up for take off, racking up a total of 2,858 days overseas – in other words, 7.8 years. On average, every minister missed 95 days. But the average can be misleading – some ministers were gone much more, breaking records with their visits to foreign countries.
- Netanyahu's travel budget doubled
Unsurprisingly the record holder for frequent flying was former foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman, who was out of the country for 280 days (9.3 months). He was followed by another senior government member – Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who spent 247 days overseas. His favorite destination? The US, which he visited 25 times.
The list continued with Minister of Public Diplomacy & Diaspora Affairs Yuli Edelstein, Science & Technology Minister Professor Daniel Hershkowitz and Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov. PM Netanyahu came in 10th on the list.
At the bottom of the list were Ministers Michael Eitan, Ariel Atias and Benny Begin, who were only gone 26, 21 and 14 days respectively. Closing out the list was Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman, who did not take a single trip on the taxpayer's dime, in all his four years.
An official flight of a government minister is an expensive deal that comes out of the taxpayer's pocket. Most ministers travel business class; they are accompanied by assistants and security personnel, receive personal allowances, a hotel room, a private driver, vehicle, translator and other benefits. This has added up to millions of shekels spent on minister flights over the last few years.
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