Scathing report from Israel's comptroller describes lavish spending by Netanyahu

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
(Image credit: Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images)

Israel's state comptroller, Joseph Shapira, released a report on Tuesday criticizing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, for excessive spending of public funds on their residences. "Public trust in government institutions is a cornerstone of every democracy," he wrote. "One would expect an elected public official to demonstrate extra sensitivity... and serve as an exemplary model of saving public funds."

The report went into detail about money spent at the official prime minister's residence in Jerusalem and the Netanyahu's private home in Caesarea. In 2009, the year Netanyahu took office, expenses at both residences were at $500,000 a year, Shapira found, and that doubled by 2011 before going down to roughly $600,000 in 2013. Between 2009 and 2013, a monthly average of $20,000 was spent on cleaning both residences, the Netanyahus spent more than $100 a day on personal grooming, and $20,000 a year was spent delivering meals, despite having a chef on staff, the Los Angeles Times reports. These expenses were "not compatible with the basic principles of proportionality, reasonability, economy, and efficiency," Shapira wrote.

Netanyahu's spokesman said the prime minister will take the report seriously and wants his staff to take its recommendations, but a statement from his Likud party said it was just a distraction in the weeks leading up to the election. Labor Party leader Isaac Herzog wrote on his Facebook page: "It is not because of how you conduct yourself in your homes that the public wants to replace you. We will replace you because on your shift, Hamas grows stronger... young couples cannot buy a house... because you eat a $5,000 breakfast when every third child in Israel goes to bed hungry."

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.

Catherine Garcia

Catherine Garcia is night editor for Her writing and reporting has appeared in Entertainment Weekly and, The New York Times, The Book of Jezebel, and other publications. A Southern California native, Catherine is a graduate of the University of Redlands and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.