Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister, is facing embarrassment after it was revealed that he asked for a bedroom to be specially fitted to the plane he used to travel to Margaret Thatcher’s funeral last month.
The fitting of a private bedroom, which according to the country’s Channel 10 television cost $127,000, comes as 12,000 Israelis last night marched across the country to demonstrate against the government’s proposed budget, which will impose seven billion shekels of spending cuts and a 1.5 per cent increase in income tax.
Mr Netanyahu, who in February was revealed to have spent £2,000 a year on ice-cream for his official residence in Jerusalem, asked that a “resting chamber” be fitted to the plane for him and his wife Sara for the five and a half hour flight.
According to the Haaretz newspaper, the overall cost of the flight, which included 22 business class seats, was $427,000.
Mr Netanyahu’s office stressed that the sleeping area was justified given his busy schedule during the trip to London, which as well as the funeral included meetings with a number of senior dignitaries.
“The flight was scheduled for midnight, after a long day at [several] events. The next day, the prime minister was to represent the State of Israel in a number of official international events, including a meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and a meeting with British Prime Minister David Cameron. With this in mind, it is warranted that the prime minister be given an opportunity to sleep during the night between these two busy days.”