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The Boston Globe

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Israeli leader takes heat as expense account skyrockets

Netanyahu’s lavish life irks Israelis as taxes rise, benefits fall

JERUSALEM — For years, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been saddled with an image of a cigar-smoking, cognac-drinking socialite. Now a disclosure about his soaring spending on housekeeping, furniture, clothing, and other expenses is increasing pressure on him in a country whose leaders once were known for washing their own dishes and taking out the garbage.

The uproar, which began with a TV station’s report that Netanyahu spent $127,000 in public funds for a special sleeping cabin on a recent five-hour flight to London, fuels criticism that he is out of touch with average Israelis who are struggling with tax increases amid a huge budget deficit.

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