Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Photo: AP

Israeli leader under fire for costly lifestyle

Israel’s prime minister is under fire again for a costly lifestyle at taxpayers’ expense, just as his government is slashing welfare benefits and raising taxes to cope with a huge deficit.

Israeli media took aim Tuesday at reports that the expenses of Benjamin Netanyahu’s office have soared nearly 80 per cent since he took office in 2009. Netanyahu and his family split their time among three homes, including an official residence. The cost of maintaining them came to roughly US$905,000 last year.

The information was released only after a civil liberties group filed a freedom of information request.

The disclosure comes days after a TV station reported that Netanyahu spent US$127,000 in public funds for a special sleeping cabin on a recent five-hour flight to London.