Naftali Bennett's house
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live down the street from the leader of your country? The residents of Ra'anana, Israel, living along Tzifman Street, know all too well. Naftali Bennett, the recently elected Prime Minister of Israel, chose to continue living in his home, rather than move into the Prime Minister’s house after his victory. While this may not seem like a big deal, it has caused frustration among the residents of Ra’anana. For many people, Mr. Bennett was an unpopular choice to lead the Israeli government. Other people are angry at him for pushing Benjamin Netanyahu out of power, after he served for over a decade as Prime Minister. To make their frustrations clear, protesters occupied the street in front of his house, chanting and waving signs. The determined protesters stood for hours, even days, at a time, sometimes banging pots and pans together to stop the Prime Minister and his family from sleeping. Guards were called in to try and disperse the protesters, but that was to no avail. However, complaints about the noise level soon began to emerge from an assisted-living home next door. The protesters quieted down slightly, but did not stop. The guards had to close down the street, both because of the protestors and for safety reasons. Locals were reasonably unhappy with the measures, as it made tasks such as going to synagogue or shopping very difficult and time-consuming. In order to walk down the street, people had to stop at a gate, present their IDs to a guard, and prove they were not armed. The guard would then radio to a second guard at the other end of the street to inform them that people were coming through, before the people would walk through a passageway that prevented them from seeing Bennett’s house. Locals were not the only people affected by Bennett’s decision.
Another problem with Bennett’s decision to stay at his house was the cost to the Israeli government. His decision cost the government around 12-15 million shekels (3.6 - 4.6 million American dollars). This price comes from the need for building security stations and roadblocks, installing cameras, and any other infrastructure needed to help keep the Prime Minister safe. It also likely includes the cost of a convoy to safely take him to and from the Prime Minister’s office. Another issue with the cost is that multiple apartments nearby the house had to be rented or purchased for his security team. All of these factors, plus the public resentment to his election, have so far made Mr. Bennett into an interesting and controversial figure, and certainly someone to watch.
Photo Source: Times of Israel