Detailed construction plans for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara’s villa in Caesarea were available online until Wednesday on the website of the regional council’s planning and building committee.
The plan, which includes detailed drawings of the house – each of its floors as well as entrances and emergency exits – was available to anyone who conducted a simple search of the prime minister’s address and the number of the plot the house sits on. After Haaretz inquired about it, the plan was removed from the site.
A high-resolution aerial image of the Netanyahu villa was also available in the regional council’s Geographic Information System (GIS) until Wednesday. In contrast, the Prime Minister’s residence on Jerusalem’s Balfour Street is blurred on the Jerusalem city GIS. As a result of Haaretz’s inquiry, the Caesarea villa was also blurred out.
The detailed construction plan was originally submitted in 2003 and made available to the public at the time when Netanyahu was finance minister and the ministry’s security unit filed an application to expand the lot’s built-up area in order to add security installations. Specifically, the application was to construct a 30-square-meter structure for use as a guard post and control room.
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The plan includes sensitive information, such as the exact location and depth of the house’s entrances, the control room, the bomb shelter, and an emergency exit. When Netanyahu became prime minister again in 2009, security measures may have changed, but it is unclear whether any actual structural changes were made to the villa.
The Netanyahu villa - a basement and two above-ground floors - features 565 square meters of floor space over a 1.4-dunam site. As of 2003, it had five bedrooms, a dining room, a living room, a large swimming pool, and several other rooms. Netanyahu often spends time at his house over the weekends.
Building plans submitted to the planning committee show that the Treasury’s security division applied for the permit. However, the application didn’t ask for a temporary structure to be erected on the site, but for an extension to the house to be added. The government would pay for the process, but the cost was not stated.
While he was in office between 2021 and 2022, former Prime Minister Naftali Bennett came under criticism after the Shin Bet security service made structural changes to his private residence. Among other things, Bennett’s bomb shelter was turned into an office with secure communication equipment and the home’s parking area expanded to make room for an armored car.