The TV station first reported Friday night that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu requested a double bed chamber on the El Al plane when he traveled with his wife to London to attend the funeral of the late British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher last month. The report said the bed cost Israeli taxpayers about $127,000. The chamber included a double bed surrounded by four walls to grant the couple privacy, the television station reported.
The move comes at a time when Israeli citizens are up in arms over the austerity measures Finance Minister Yair Lapid plans to implement when he introduces the national budget for 2013 for approval in the Knesset, the report noted.
Netanyahu's office was quick to respond, issuing a statement claiming Netanyahu was not aware of the cost. In light of the criticism, the prime minister said he would no longer make such a request when making short flights abroad, the television station said.
Initially, Netanyahu's office noted the flight was scheduled for midnight after a hectic day. "In light of this, it is appropriate that Israel's prime minister will be able to rest the night," the statement said.