Opposition Demands Netanyahu Explain Spending

YERUSHALAYIM -
David Shimron, attorney for the Likud political party, using a chart to explain the spending practices of the Prime Minister’s Residence, a day after a report from the state comptroller. (Ben Kelmer/Flash90)
David Shimron, attorney for the Likud political party, using a chart to explain the spending practices of the Prime Minister’s Residence, a day after a report from the state comptroller. (Ben Kelmer/Flash90)

Opposition leader Isaac Herzog pressed the issue of exorbitant spending in the Prime Minister’s Residence on Wednesday, insisting that Netanyahu must go before the public with a full accounting.

On Tuesday, State Comptroller Joseph Shapira released a scathing report on unjustified spending of state funds on a variety of personal indulgences.

Attorney Eldad Yaniv, a Zionist Camp candidate for Knesset, wrote Attorney General Yehudah Weinstein requesting a police investigation of charges in the report.

Herzog said he was shocked that the prime minister did not feel obligated to respond personally to the allegations about the irresponsible behavior detailed in the report.

Netanyahu has not directly answered the charges. However, on Wednesday, Likud lawyer David Shimron did a lot of explaining for the prime minister, with the aid of bar graphs, at a press conference.

But the invective against Netanyahu continued. Meretz leader Zehava Gal-On said that Netanyahu’s “wanton behavior in the Prime Minister’s Residence is, more than anything else, a precise reflection of the total disconnect of this government from citizens of the state and the adoption of a banana republic’s corrupt norms.”

Knesset Finance Committee chairman Nissan Slomianksy (Jewish Home) said he plans to hold a meeting to determine whether the Prime Minister’s Residence budget needs a more “reasonable framework,” after reviewing the report.

The first public opinion survey taken since the comptroller’s report was reported on Army Radio. Conducted by the Shiluv Millward Brown market research group, it found that  41 percent of the respondents said that the chance they would support the Likud in the election had dropped.

Of those who said they were voting for Likud, 22 percent said they were now reconsidering, or were less supportive of the party. Some 49 percent of general voters and 54 percent of the Likud voters said the report would not influence their vote.