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'Summer protests at fault for defense budget cuts'

Brig.-Gen. Aharon Haliva reportedly tells reserve soldiers that lack of funding's due to social protests, missiles now can't be fired during training.

February 13, 2012 06:26
1 minute read.
Social justice protest [file]

Social justice protest 311. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)

IDF Brig.-Gen. Aharon Haliva told hundreds of reserve soldiers that the summer's social protests were at fault for the recent cuts to the defense budget, website reported Sunday.

According to the website, in a conversation held several days earlier, the commander accusingly told the reservists that "because of the protests, the defense budget was cut, and now we can't fire missiles during training." The report states that soldiers present at the meeting felt as though Haliva was pointing the finger at them. He also lashed out at Tel Aviv residents who were involved in the protests, according to the report.

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The IDF Spokesperson reacted saying, “we have no intention of responding to things said in closed military forums."

Haliva has caused a stir in the past, when he reportedly said in December 2010, that he "hated and could not stand" the hesder yeshiva military track, under which soldiers do only 16 months of active military service.

“I would rather take someone not as good to become an officer and who will stay on for three or four different positions than a soldier from the hesder track who will leave after one job. It just doesn’t pay,” the former Paratroopers Brigade commander reportedly told soldiers from the brigade’s 890th Battalion.

Last month, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu decided not to cut the defense budget, and even agreed to a one-time supplement of NIS 3 billion. Nevertheless, the IDF claims it is short NIS 4b., and will need to dramatically cut back on training and ammunition in order to fund new development and procurement programs.

Yaakov Katz and Jonah Mandel contributed to this report

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