Who Will Pay Netanyahu’s Back Taxes? Why, the Taxpayer, of Course
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is making waves of late, and not only because of his plans to annex parts of the West Bank. Parliamentary underlings this week advocated on his behalf before the Knesset’s Finance Committee, saying that while legislation covered income taxes on some of the prime minister’s job perks starting in 2018, he would suffer “financial ruin” if the equivalent of $270,000 in unpaid taxes going back to 2009 were to be levied now, as has been suggested. The justification behind the request? Previous prime ministers, his underlings said, enjoyed similar benefits, but financial experts and economic historians have been hard-pressed to find a single example. Some of the taxes Netanyahu owes are for the car he gets as part of his job. In his defense, that car is a limousine – made even pricier because it’s bullet-proof. But other unpaid taxes stem from work done on the swimming pool and gardens at his private villa in tony, seaside Caesarea. This has ruffled more than a few feathers at a time when Israel is reeling from unemployment rates well above 20% owing to the coronavirus pandemic. Further ruffling feathers is the fact that Netanyahu is one of the country’s wealthier politicians, worth a cool $14 million. The “financial ruin” part, therefore, has not been playing particularly well.