While black tie banquets, lavish royal receptions, and priceless gifts are the most obvious extravagances in international diplomacy, the Israeli leader and his wife shed light on a lesser-known perk of the state visit: the clean-up at free dry.
Benjamin and Sara Netanyahu gained a reputation for lugging bags and suitcases of dirty clothes on trips abroad to wash them at another country’s expense, a practice noted by staff at the guesthouse in the White House, according to the Washington Post.
“The Netanyahu are the only ones bringing us real suitcases of dirty laundry to clean,” the newspaper said, quoting an unnamed US official. “After several trips it became clear that this was intentional.”
The Israeli prime minister’s office has denied the allegation, but this is not the first time the 70-year-old leader has been accused of taking soiled clothing abroad for a rinse.
In 2018, leaked transcripts emerged containing allegations that Sara Netanyahu packed “four or five” suitcases worth laundry for state travel. Two years earlier, the Prime Minister had successfully launched a legal offer to keep his national laundry bills private.
The Israeli embassy in Washington said in a statement that the allegations were “baseless and absurd” and aimed at distracting attention from Netanyahu’s recent US visit, where he signed agreements to normalize relations with Israelis. United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.
“During this visit, for example, there was no dry cleaning, only a few shirts were laundered for the public meeting, and the Prime Minister’s suit and Ms. Netanyahu’s dress were also ironed for the public meeting ”, indicates the press release from the embassy. “Oh yes, a pair of pajamas the Prime Minister wore on the 12-hour flight from Israel to Washington has also been laundered.
In its report, the Washington Post said last week’s visit did not include several suitcases of laundry, but that “career and political officials spanning the Trump and Obama administrations” had confirmed several previous mass cleaning incidents.
The allegations compounded domestic accusations that the Netanyahu sought to exploit the perks of high office, no matter how small.
Last year, Sara Netanyahu was convicted of unlawfully abusing tens of thousands of pounds of public funds for lavish meals, despite the fact that an in-house cook was provided by the state.
Meanwhile, the prime minister is on trial in three corruption cases, including charges of accepting expensive gifts including champagne, jewelry and cigars. Netanyahu denies all the charges.