A day after Labor MK Binyamin Ben Eliezer quit Israel's presidential race ahead of an investigation into corruption and bribery charges against him, former Kadima MK Dalia Itzik, another candidate for the presidency, took the initiative and came out with a public explanation of how she was able to afford an apartment she recently purchased in Tel Aviv for NIS 4.6 million ($1.4 million). Her short answer: “I worked hard for my money.”
“I am a great believer in the institution of the Presidency and I believe I am worthy of it,” Itzik said in a statement Sunday. “To that end, I have asked my accountant to prepare an updated net worth statement, which I plan to release to the public. I call on all candidates for this office to do so as well.”
Without stating so directly, Itzik was responding to rumors that have been circulating that her activities have not been on the “up and up.” Itzik last year bought a very expensive apartment in Tel Aviv – worth NIS 4.6 million – an addition to the two apartments she already owns in Jerusalem. Experts said that her real estate holdings were worth in excess of NIS 10 million (nearly $3 million) – a queenly sum for an MK.
But there was no reason for concern, Itzik said in her statement. The MK said she bought a small apartment in 2009 from money in one her savings account, and sold it last year for profit. Add to that a sum she got from her father and a separate sum from her pension account, Itzik was able to garner about NIS 2 million. She will pay off the rest of the apartment's mortgage when she sells one of her Jerusalem apartments, she said.
“Like many people of my generation who worked hard, I have reached a level of financial stability,” she said. “But money never really interested me; what really concerns me is being able to continue as a servant of the people,” Itzik added.