It's being called “Bed-Gate”.
Israel's Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu and his wife, on their five-hour flight to London for the funeral of the late British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, had a private sleeping compartment specially-installed that included a double sized bed. (The jet itself reportedly cost $300,000 before all this got started).
This cost for the Israeli taxpayer – $127,000.
His advisers said Mr. Netanyahu needed a good rest, and he has said he was unaware of the cost.
People are drawing the comparison of Mr. Netanyahu's cost with that of the President of the State of Israel Shimon Perez who recently flew 11 hours to South Korea for a State visit without any special arrangements – and he will soon be 90 years of age.
Today, two days later, the Netanyahu's are under more fire for 'living like kings in an ivory tower'.
Yesterday, information was released after a months long petition to the courts that the operating budget for the Netanyahu's official and private residences jumped around 80% from 2009 to 2012.
According to the figures, some $1,500,000 was budgeted for operating and maintenance costs for Bibi's official residence in Jerusalem and private residence on the coastal town of Caesarea in 2012 alone.
The Prime Minister's Office released a statement in response saying that the numbers included “the expenses for official events held in the prime minister's home and working expenses for the many meetings held there.”
Many Israelis are amazed that no one in the Prime Minister's Office foresaw that, should this information get out, it would be damaging to Mr. Netanyahu and the Prime Minister's Office.
They are asking if the people working in Bibi's office are that much cut off from the public reality?
Or worse yet, are they afraid to speak up?
All this is happening as the State's budget is being reviewed, with public protest over programs being slashed, as austerity measures are being put into place to hold the Israeli economy up.
Middle East Correspondent