The Finance Ministry recently requested an exemption from a tender for purchasing additional driving services on Shabbat and Jewish holidays for Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman, in addition to the existing team of drivers, Makor Rishon reported on Friday. The request was approved by the Accountant General and the Director of the Government Procurement Administration. The cost through August 2023 is estimated at NIS 189,540 ($56,000).
Minister Liberman lives in the settlement of Nokdim, south of Bethlehem, and so, the Shin Bet insists that he be driven to and from home by a professional driver. The additional post was requested specifically for Shabbat and Jewish holidays, as well as late night and early morning hours. Apparently, Liberman works long hours in the office on weekends and requires a driver to take him to interviews at the news studios, conferences, and Shabbat interview shows which are popular around the country.
The Civil Service Commission places a 90-hour a month limit on weekend driving for government ministers, but two drivers Liberman hired this past year resigned after working only a month or two because they couldn’t stand the pressure. As a result, Liberman decided to contract an outside firm to provide these extra services – a firm that was vetted for its security clearance and approved to work with official security guards.
Makor Rishon cited the response it received from Liberman’s people: “The Minister of Finance works around the clock, 24/7, and the bureau’s employees are required to be flexible according to the minister’s schedule.”