JERUSALEM, June 23 (Xinhua) -- Israeli parliament's finance committee approved on Tuesday controversial tax refunds worth about 1 million new shekels (292,000 U.S. dollars) to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The decision, approved following a request by Netanyahu, will allow the long-time leader to retroactively get refunds for taxes that he paid between 2009 and 2017.
"A tax imposed on the prime minister due to income derived from payments, services and benefits provided to him by the state treasury in the context of his position as prime minister, will be at the expense of the state treasury," the decision read.
Israel's Ha'aretz newspaper reported that the overall benefits of the new decision is worth nearly 1 million new shekels.
Coalition Chairman Miki Zohar told the committee that the taxes on Netanyahu were "unfair" and would make him "financially handicapped."
Members of the committee voted by 8-5 in favor of the tax refunds. Lawmakers with the Blue and White party, Netanyahu's new partners in his power-sharing coalition, were absent from the discussion.
The move triggered criticism from the opposition.
Yair Lapid, Netanyahu's former finance minister, accused Netanyahu and his right-wing Likud party of taking big benefits amid the coronavirus pandemic and economic crisis.
He wrote on Twitter that the government was "disconnected" from the public. Enditem