Daily Israel Report

Report: Dalia Itzik Spent NIS 75,000 on Paris Hotels

A report on Channel Two said that former Knesset speaker Dalia Itzik spent NIS 75,000 on hotel rooms while on a taxpayer-funded junket to Paris.
By David Lev
First Publish: 10/13/2009, 11:06 PM / Last Update: 10/14/2009, 6:55 AM

Israel News Photo: Archive


She switched to a swankier hotel – the Le Bristol – a move which cost the taxpayer 1,995 euro a night (NIS 11,000).
A report on Channel Two Tuesday night said that former Knesset speaker Dalia Itzik (Kadima) spent NIS 75,000 ($20,000) on hotel rooms in four days, while on a taxpayer-funded junket to Paris. Itzik took the trip in 2006 to attend a convention of French Jewish organizations and was accompanied by her then close associate, Knesset director general Avi Balishnikov.

According to the report, Itzik was dissatisfied with the hotel suite at the Park Hyatt that the Israeli embassy in Paris had chosen for her – a room which cost 740 euro, or NIS 4,000 a night – claiming it wasn't "big enough" for her to conduct meetings she had scheduled, and she demanded an "upgrade."

She switched to a swankier hotel – the Le Bristol – a move which cost the taxpayer 1,995 euro a night (NIS 11,000). In addition, the government had to pay a hefty cancellation fee at the Park Hyatt. Altogether, those four hotel nights cost the Israeli taxpayer NIS 75,000 – in addition to the cost of flights, meals, entertainment and other sundry expenses.

When asked to respond to the report, Itzik's office issued a statement that Balishnikov had approved the expenses. The statement explained that when Itzik arrived in Paris, "it became clear an error had been made, because the room reserved for her at the Park Hyatt did not have a sitting area separate from the sleeping quarters. The room did not meet the requirements of the security officials traveling with MK Itzik because she could not hold meetings there. Since there were no other rooms available at the Park Hyatt that met the requirements, MK Itzik and her party were moved to the Le Bristol."

"Presenting MK Itzik as demanding an 'upgrade' is an offense against the truth," the statement said, adding that the cancellation fees for the Park Hyatt presented in the report were "more than were actually charged." In addition, her office said, the total costs quoted included rooms for Balishnikov and the security detail - all of which were "standard" rooms.