President Barack Obama’s state visit to Israel will cost more than 40 million shekels ($10.9 million). Israel will pay for security costs, including the outer ring of personal security, as well the hotel costs of his entourage at the prestigious King David Hotel in Jerusalem. Secret service costs and salaries for the entourage will be paid by the U.S. government.
The papal visit in 2009 cost 43 million shekels ($11.7 million). Some of the visit costs are classified and included within the budgets of certain branches of the security establishment.
The cost of Obama’s 48-hour visit includes salaries and overtime for the tens of thousands of police and volunteers recruited for the occasion, as well as the cost of gas and other necessities for these workers. It also includes securing the airport, roads and the streets on which Obama’s entourage will travel, near the King David Hotel, the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial and the Jerusalem Convention Center.
The King David Hotel will also be compensated about 3.5 million shekels (about $950,000) because it will be forced to close entire wings of the hotel during Obama’s visit and send guests to other hotels. The media center will cost 357,000 shekels ($97,000) to run.
The security operation comprises 15,000 staff police and a further 3,000 volunteers who will work around the clock in 12-hour shifts over the course of the 48-hour visit. Twenty vehicles and motorcycles will comprise the president’s motorcade. In addition, 50 scooters, 25 all-terrain vehicles, 100 buses and hundreds of police and security cars, motorcycles and other vehicles will take part in the operation.
There is some comfort in the notion that in the end, the entire tab will essentially be paid by the U.S. through the military aid it provides to Israel, to the tune of $3 billion.
Prior to his visit, Obama decided to cut aid to Israel by only $155 million, $95 million less than had been called for in across-the-board cuts in the U.S.