Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stands with his wife Sara, after voting in the municipal elections in occupied Jerusalem, Oct. 22, 2013. (AP/Dan Balilty)
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With Israeli elections looming and the region in turmoil, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu found himself once more enmeshed in a gossipy scandal Tuesday.The uproar jolted an election campaign in which Netanyahu's opponents have tried to portray him as enjoying a lavish lifestyle and being out of touch with the struggles of average Israelis.Netanyahu said expenses have dropped significantly in the two years since the departure of Naftali, a man he described as "an embittered former public employee".Two days before the state comptroller released its report, Netanyahu posted a 15-minute video on Facebook that appeared aimed at countering the hedonistic image ahead of March 17 elections that have focused on the economic woes of middle- and lower-class voters.Netanyahu's office had no immediate comment on the TV report.Netanyahu's rivals pounced on the material. The centrist Yesh Atid party, which has made corruption a centerpiece of its campaign, said the report and video reflected how disconnected Netanyahu was from the real problems of average Israelis, who just three years ago took to the streets en masse to protest the country's high cost of living.
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