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Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's ice cream budget frozen

Some have called it a "meltdown."

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu likes his ice cream — but he's frozen his annual ice cream budget after the size of it was publicized, The Associated Press reported.

An Israel economic publication, Calcalist, published an article last week pointing out purchases on the prime minister's annual expense budget, the AP reported. Netanyahu's office reportedly requested and was granted permission to buy up to 10,000 shekels -- or about US$2,700 -- of ice cream from the state budget per year, the Calcalist reported.

Following publication of the Calcalist's findings, the prime minister came under criticism at a time when he is working to pass an austerity budget that reportedly affects teachers, social workers and police officers, The Guardian reported.


Political opponent Shelly Yachimovich, leader of Israel's Labor Party, was critical of the ice cream funding in a Facebook post on Feb. 14.

"If there's no bread, let them eat ice-cream. Should we laugh or cry? Was that what he meant when he said there are no 'free meals'?" Yachimovich's post said, according to The Guardian's translation.

Netanyahu's office told the AP on Sunday that once the prime minister was made aware of this ice cream contract, he called it "excessive and unacceptable" and ordered that it be stopped right away, the AP reported.

But not everyone is upset.

"It's really a shame," ice cream maker Serena Kanfi told The Jerusalem Post. "He's also a human being. He should be able to eat ice cream wherever he wants."

"They have a lot of guests and invite a lot of people," Kanfi also told the newspaper.

Netanyahu has a fancy for vanilla and pistachio ice creams, according to the Calcalist.