Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu really likes ice cream -- so much so that in 2012 he got a government-financed budget of 10,000 shekels (about $2,700) for ice cream, Haaretz reported on Friday.
In response to the revelation, first reported by financial daily the Calcalist, the head of the opposition Labor Party, Shelley Yacimovich, posted a satirical picture of Netanyahu with an ice cream cone photoshopped into his hand and the caption: “Says we need to trim the fat; spends NIS 10k in tax funds on ice cream.” Yacimovich also posted the comment: "If there's no bread, let them eat ice cream. Should we laugh or cry? Was that what he meant when he said there are no 'free meals'?" in reference to Netanyahu's budget-cutting programs.
The report also revealed that Netanyahu spent 3,000 shekels (about $800) on ice cream in May 2012 alone.
When asked about the expense, Netanyahu said it was “extravagant and therefore unacceptable” and announced he would be canceling a state-financed contract with a local ice cream shop named Metudela to deliver the goods to his official residence, Business Insider said.
Netanyahu’s office told Haaretz that the contract was “meant to accommodate guests at the prime minister’s official residence, and [the contract] did not necessarily mean the entire sum would be spent.”
This small scandal, which may be dubbed Ice Cream-Gate, is happening as Netanyahu tries to cobble together a coalition government after his right-wing party, Likud-Beiteinu, did not win the landslide victory it was expecting in the Jan. 22 elections. Those elections ended up revolving less around the peace process and more around the public’s economic concerns than was predicted.
Incidentally, Netanyahu's favorite ice cream flavors are vanilla and pistachio, Haaretz said.
The Guardian reported that in 2012 the Netanyahus were also allocated 2.46 million shekels of taxpayer’s money (about $670,000) for clothes, cleaning and non-ice cream foodstuff.
Maya covers the U.N., Europe, and the Middle East for IBTimes. She joined the company in July 2012 after having previously worked with DNAinfo.com and Gawker.