Transportation Minister Miri Regev's official trips have incurred substantial expenses, raising questions and concerns among the public. Her journey to Morocco, in particular, has stirred controversy due to its staggering costs.
Regev's visit to Morocco, a political mission that included meetings with local ministers, was reported to have cost approximately NIS 377,000. The breakdown of these expenses revealed that NIS 154,000 went towards flights, lodging, and accommodation, with an additional NIS 223,000 allocated for security during her stay in the African country.
Furthermore, Regev was not alone on her trip. Several senior officials from government transportation companies, including Chairman Yigal Amadi, CEO Nissim Peretz, and VP of Railway Infrastructure Tzachi Gora, accompanied her. Their collective expenses were estimated to be in the tens of thousands of shekels. Israel Moshe Shimoni, another participant in the trip, saw his expenses covered by the company, amounting to approximately 12 thousand shekels. In total, the visit to Morocco reportedly cost NIS 455,000.
Aside from political meetings, Regev's itinerary included a tour of the port of Tangier, visits to cemeteries and Jewish community centers, and even a ride on a high-speed train, which reaches speeds of up to 323 km/h, and was launched in Morocco in 2018.
A month later, Regev embarked on another official trip, this time to Georgia. During this visit, she met with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Development Levan Duytashvili, who oversees the country's transport sector. Regev also spoke at a women's conference. This was her second visit to Georgia in six months, following her earlier trip in January, during which she attended an official game of Israel's youth soccer team.
Once again, Chairman Yigal Amadi joined Regev on her journey, this time in his capacity as Georgia's honorary consul in Israel. According to the Ministry of Transportation, Regev's flight to Georgia amounted to around NIS 164,000. Of this, NIS 33,000 were attributed to flight costs, while NIS 131,000 went towards security expenses.
These revelations have sparked controversy, especially when compared to the travel expenses of other government officials. Former Minister of Health Nitzan Horowitz's trip to Berlin, including security, cost NIS 113,000, while Tamar Zandberg's flights to Paris and the Emirates totaled NIS 280,000. It's worth noting that flights for high-ranking officials such as the Prime Minister, Ministers of Defense, and Foreign Affairs typically incur even higher costs.
When approached for comment, Minister Regev responded, "The expenses for the minister and the team on behalf of her office in Morocco amounted to only 154,593 shekels. Regarding the other expenses, you must contact the security authorities, as these are a derivative of instructions on their behalf."
As the public debates the necessity and transparency of such expenditures, the controversy surrounding Minister Regev's official trips continues to grow.