Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz blasted the defense establishment on Saturday for its attempts to increase the defense budget using tactics of manipulation that he said could be dangerous to Israel’s security.

Steinitz, a former finance minister, said the dispute between the Finance Ministry and the defense establishment is regarding the latter’s request for budget increases.

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“Indeed there was a budget problem and a need to make cutbacks, but the military and the security system cannot use manipulation to influence public opinion. Even if there is a downsizing in the defense establishment, it should not be publicized. in order to prevent the enemy from knowing it,” Steinitz said at an event in Beersheba.

“The heads of the security establishment are acting in a way that is not acceptable in a democratic country,” he charged.

On Tuesday, the IDF made its latest announcement of measures to scale back funds, saying that it was canceling all Israel Air Force drills until further notice due to budget cuts.

To save costs, the IDF has, over the past 18 months, shut down a fighter jet squadron as well as a Cobra combat helicopter squadron, and fired over 1,000 career soldiers.

The Defense Ministry expected to receive NIS 57.6 billion in 2014, but instead got a NIS 51 billion budget.

Yaakov Lappin contributed to this report.
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