work around the Bennett residence
work around the Bennett residence Family neighbors

The State Attorney's Office submitted its response to a petition to the Supreme Court that was submitted regarding the residence of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett in Ra'anana, while the official residence in Jerusalem is under renovation.

The State Attorney's Office notes that "the residence in Ra'anana is not an official residence for the purpose of holding demonstrations there, but is still a private house used by the Prime Minister and his family in the circumstances that were created."

It further states that "at this time he must be provided with the full services necessary for the performance of his duties and his residence and the residence of his family and he and his family must be given all the rights of the prime minister in his official residence."

The state notes that "the official prime minister's residence is in Jerusalem. In June 2021, the state attorney in the Prime Minister's Office ruled that as long as the Prime Minister was unable to move to live in the official residence in Balfour, the ministry must provide the prime minister in his private residence the full services necessary for the performance of his duties and for his residence and the residence of his family, and finance them,, and provide him and his family with all the rights available to the Prime Minister at his official residence. This, along with the recognition that at the end of the day, the residence in Ra'anana is the private residence of the Prime Minister, and therefore the need arises to ensure that due to the situation that has arisen, no works will be funded to improve the private residence."

The reply stated that Bennett was now forced to live in Ra'anana due to the demand of the Shabak and the Prime Minister's Office to carry out urgent work at the official residence on Balfour Street in Jerusalem.

Regarding the house in Ra'anana, it was written that "the construction on the site was carried out for security reasons, under the guidance of the Shabak and on the basis of professional security considerations, and taking into account aspects related to costs and reducing harm to neighbors as much as possible. Security arrangements have also been made in the private homes of previous prime ministers, based on an assessment of the threats and other relevant circumstances, and in any case it will be emphasized and clarified that the Prime Minister was not involved in initiating construction on the site. Therefore, the classification of the house, which as stated does not constitute an official residence as is the residence in Jerusalem, has no relevance to the solutions requested."

Attorney Uriel Hur Nizri, who represents Prime Minister Bennett's neighbors, said in response: "We were astonished by the response of the state, which admits that it did not tell the truth to the Supreme Court and excuses it as a 'mistake.' In practice, the state continues to mislead the court after the party it represents, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, admitted that the house in Ra'anana is the "official residence."

"Even in its response, the state states that the official residence is the residence in Ra'anana because according to it, Prime Minister Bennett was unable to live in Balfour and when in practice the residence in Ra'anana was treated as the official residence, and in its response the state states that in practice the official residence is in Ra'anana. Indeed, budgets were transferred to the residence in Ra'anana since it became the actual official residence. This transfer of funds was done in violation of the law and while hiding that from the Supreme Court and misleading it, a fact which the state itself even admits."

"The state's response further indicates that not only were false representations made to the court, but they continue to mislead the court, with the title of the document writing that the official residence is in Jerusalem, but in practice specifying why Ra'anana is the official residence. It is clear that what goes forward as an official residence, looks like an official residence and sounds an official residence is an official residence. It is clear that the state chooses once again not to tell the truth to the court, while trying to present a false representation that the Shabak was the initiator of moving the official residence to Ra'anana, but in practice attributes the decision to a citizen and not to the security forces, which shows how baseless the claim is. There seems to be no border that has not been crossed in the conduct of the state, and that is to be regretted. Needless to say, from the moment the budgets for the house in Ra'anana were approved, then it is not a private house but an official residence," added Hur Nizri.

"We hope that the Supreme Court will not give a hand to these acts and despite the manipulative response will know how to distinguish between the manipulation and the facts," Hur Nizri concluded.