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Photo by: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post
Finance Committee refuses to transfer extra defense funds
Committee prevents an increased defense budget on the grounds that additional funds will come at the expense of social ministries.
The Knesset Finance Committee on Monday refused to transfer a cabinet-approved NIS 2.79 billion addition to the defense budget.

"From the beginning I was told that this will not be at the expense of other ministries, and now it has become clear that the additions will come from cuts in all in the ministries," Committee Chairman Nissan Slomiansky (Bayit Yehudi) said at a special committee hearing, citing NIS 149m cuts to the Welfare Ministry and NIS 134m in cuts to the Health Ministry as examples.

Slomianksy expressed dismay that promises to fund the defense budget using surplus taxes proved untrue, but he left the possibility of approving the increased military spending further down the road.

"I am not prepared to approve that transfer of additional funds to Defense at the expense of social ministries without getting a complete, clear and transparent breakdown of how they will get back the budgets that will be cut," Slomianksy said.

The entirety of the committee supported a request for further details from the Finance Ministry.

In October, the security cabinet unanimously approved the budget increase, which rolled back some NIS 4.5 billion in defense cuts sought by Finance Minister Yair Lapid in the 2013-2014 budget, but still fell NIS 1.75b. short of the Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon wanted returned.

The cabinet at the time also approved the establishment of a public committee to monitor the defense budget.
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