Which MKs Are Wasting Taxpayers' Money?

After firestorm of criticism over report last week on gov't waste, Yair Lapid, Micky Levy come under scrutiny for exorbitant expenses.

Yaakov Levi ,

Mickey Levy
Mickey Levy

After a firestorm of criticism in the wake of a report last week on Knesset and government waste, Israeli taxpayers are set to recoup NIS 3,534 – the amount Deputy Finance Minister Mickey Levy spent for a refrigerator for his car. There was no word if he was planning to pay for the government-funded food that has been in the fridge since it was installed last year.

The story of Levy's refrigerator was just the tip of the iceberg in the report, prepared by UTJ MK Moshe Gafni, on the many “extras” ministers and MKs treated themselves to at the expense of taxpayers. Among those “treats” was a trip for Finance Minister Yair Lapid to the US earlier this year at a cost of NIS 54,000. Lapid flew business class, and was treated to VIP treatment during his US tour. The sum is for tickets and travel only, and does not include costs for hotels stays, meals, etc.

Among other expenses: The Treasury spent NIS 50,000 on four seminars on the Holocaust for employees, presented by officials of Yad Vashem. A million shekels of the Treasury's budget went to fill the gas tanks of employees, while NIS 50,000 was spent on dry cleaning of drapes in Ministry offices. Snow removal during the winter of 2013 from the Treasury's parking lot cost NIS 9,000, and a Chanuka celebration at the Jerusalem Science Museum for Finance Ministry employees cost the taxpayers NIS 43,000. And, to further celebrate the holiday, the ministry spent NIS 10,000 on donuts (sufganiyot).

Levy wasn't the only government official to have access to ice-cold soft drinks while on the road; the Agriculture Ministry also spent NIS 3,787 on a refrigerator for the ministry's director general. Commenting on the report, Gafni said that it provided a clear answer to Lapid's question during the elections last year of "where is the money? He asked this in order to impress on Israelis how much money was being 'wasted' on haredim and settlers, but apparently the answer is not what he said it was. Here is the money, in the trips and refrigerators for Lapid and Levy." 

So far, none of the ministries or ministers have commented publicly on the report. The report that Levy would pay for the refrigerator was phoned in by a staff member to business newspaper Calcalist and has not been confirmed by any other source.