If it weren't for a pesky news report, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would have had been able to claim a government allowance to purchase delicious frozen treats. "The Prime Minister’s Residence had already spent NIS 3,000 [$814 US] on ice cream by May of last year, and therefore filed a special request for budgeting thousands of shekels more for ice cream from a nearby shop that Netanyahu especially liked," reports the Times of Israel. After the rest of his countrymen found out, the embarrassed PM had to withdraw the request for the special snacks.
Okay, we totally get the appeal of delicious ice cream and Netanyahu's favorite flavors, vanilla sorbet and pistachio, sound pretty awesome right now. Unfortunately, in Israel (not unlike the U.S.), there's a lot of concern about budget deficits, and financial responsibility. They're so much of a concern that outgoing Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer said that the government would have to raise an additional NIS 7.5 billion ($2 billion US) in taxes to meet its targeted deficit, and reduce spending by as much as NIS 10 billion ($2.7 billion US).
So obviously an exorbitant ice cream fund just looks really terrible right now. "Netanyahu on Thursday dismissed the expense as extravagant and therefore unacceptable," reports Israel's Haaretz newspaper, which adds that Netanyahu explained that the fund wasn't a selfish sweet tooth type of deal, but rather "a master contract meant to accommodate guests at the prime minister's official residence, and did not necessarily mean the entire sum would be spent." Still, ice cream optics won out.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.