US President Barack Obamas spent $102,000 in taxpayer dollars on his dog handler last year. But a UK newspaper has targeted Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for spending less than $2,700 on ice cream.
A report published Friday in The Guardian quoted the Hebrew-language financial daily Calcalist in sniping at the amount of money spent in 2012 by the prime minister’s staff in purchasing the sweet treat from a local Jerusalem ice cream parlor -- a total of NIS 9,714 for himself, his family and probably some guests at the official residence.
Netanyahu’s favorite flavors are vanilla and pistachio, according to the report, which added that the family consumed approximately 14 kg of ice cream per month.
The newspaper also took pains to quote a post on Facebook by opposition Labor party chairwoman Shelly Yechimovich, who carped, “If there’s no bread, let them eat ice cream. Should we laugh or cry? Was that what he meant when he said there are no ‘free meals’?”
In response, Netanyahu reportedly told his staff to cancel the arrangement with the ice cream parlor that provides the treat at the official residence. “The prime minister said this is an unreasonable expense that is unacceptable to him,” an official at the prime minister’s office was quoted as saying Friday.
The prime minister and his family are allocated an annual taxpayer budget of NIS 2.6 million ($706,232) for household expenses that include food, clothing and cleaning costs.
In comparison, the family of U.S. President Barack Obama last year spent $1.4 billion on their household expenses, which included salaries for 469 senior staffers, "the biggest staff in history at the highest wages ever," according a report published last September in The Daily Caller, and $102,000 in taxpayer funds just on the family's dog handler alone.
British taxpayers spent $57.8 million on the royal family during the same period.