Bennett wants to stay in suburban home, would cost state close to $5M

Installing fences, checkpoints, guard booths, surveillance cameras, and other security infrastructure around the Ra’anana residence could cost up to 15 million shekels.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

If Prime Minister Naftali Bennett decides to stay in his Ra’anana home rather than move into the official prime minister’s residence on Balfour Street in Jerusalem, it would cost the state millions of shekels.

Channel 13 News reported that installing fences, checkpoints, guard booths, surveillance cameras, and other security infrastructure around the Ra’anana residence would cost up to 15 million shekels ($4.6 million) – not to mention that the sudden attention on the formerly quiet residential street is particularly vexing to Bennett’s neighbors.

Bennett has said that he intends to remain in his home, as not to disrupt his four children’s school enrollment and friendships, but will use the Jerusalem residence for official state events.

Protesters have demonstrated outside of Bennett’s home for weeks, accusing him of betraying right-wing voters by entering into a government coalition with the Islamist Ra’am party and left-wing Labor and Meretz parties.

Ra’anana Mayor Chaim Broyde wrote that the situation has become untenable for residents of the upscale suburb.

“Ra’anana is not Balfour, and Ra’anana residents need to be able to live their lives,” Broyde wrote on Facebook, referring to raucous demonstrations – some of which turned violent – that took place for nearly a year outside of former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s home.

“Innocent residents of Ra’anana, among them little children who have nothing to do with the elections, have turned into victims and hostages of a group of which few — if any at all — are residents of Ra’anana.

“Families are scared and have been living…with the deafening noise of powerful microphones, sounds similar to alarms, screaming, sirens, drums, curses, and no one is bothering to protect a community…whose only crime is being near the private home of the prime minister.”

Eldad Levi, a Ra’anana local, told Channel 13 News that security officials had blocked off the street where Bennett lives, not allowing traffic to pass through and preventing people from parking in the area.

“No world leader would be allowed to live in a place like this,” he said.

“They are turning this place into a fortified destination within a residential neighborhood.”