Brouhaha Over Sky-High Bed Costs

YERUSHALAYIM (AP) -

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will seek alternate sleeping arrangements when traveling after receiving a sky-high bill for installing a customized bed on a recent flight to London, officials close to the Israeli leader said.

Netanyahu found himself facing a public uproar on Sunday after a media report that he had spent $127,000 in public funds on a special sleeping cabin for the five-hour flight to attend Margaret Thatcher’s funeral last month.

Netanyahu’s office initially defended the decision, saying the prime minister had a busy schedule ahead of the flight and needed to be fresh for important meetings in Britain.

But following public criticism, officials close to Netanyahu said that he had been unaware of the cost, and once informed, he ordered the bed be canceled on all future flights.

Micky Rosenthal of the opposition Labor Party called for an inquiry into the prime minister’s “scandalous behavior.”

“We thought that nothing could surprise us anymore when it came to the Netanyahus’ personal behavior. Well, we thought wrong,” wrote Sima Kadmon, a political commentator.

“It is unbelievable that not a single person in the prime minister’s inner circle saw how reprehensible this was,” wrote Sima Kadmon, a political commentator. “Not a single person showed a tiny bit of common sense. There was no one who anticipated just how angry people would be when they learned about this,” Kadmon said about the bed.

Earlier this year, Netanyahu stopped buying ice cream from his favorite Yerushalayim parlor after an Israeli newspaper discovered his office was spending $2,700 a year for the frozen treat.