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Lapid: 'Mud-slinging' between Defense and Finance Ministries must end
By JPOST.COM STAFF
05/23/2014
Finance minister says current tone of dialogue is distracting Israel from focusing on remaining strong and secure.
 
Finance Minister Yair Lapid called for an end to the "mud-slinging" between the Defense Ministry and the Finance Ministry, saying it was important that, in conjunction with the IDF, "we bring the dialogue between the two ministries out of their current mud-slinging," in a statement released Friday.

"We all need to bring down the temperature and remember that we're talking about Israel's security and its obligation to remain strong," he added.

Staying strong, Lapid clarified, also means staying within the budget so there will be funds left over for education, welfare and health.

The Finance Ministry and defense establishment have been at loggerheads over the 2015 defense budget, which the Defense Ministry laments is not enough to ensure the adequate protection of Israel.

A major annual Home Front Command drill was recently canceled, along with training for reserve soldiers for the rest of 2014 as a result of defense budget problems.

“National priorities are changing, and with this, unfortunately, decisions dealing with defense are also changing," IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz has said.

Lapid stated Friday that while the combat soldiers who defend Israel deserve everything they receive and more, there are other areas of the defense budget in which it was possible to save money.

"It's the most basic part of proper management," he said.

Earlier this month, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon delivered a scathing criticism of the Finance Ministry, accusing the ministry of harming Israeli security and demonizing career soldiers.

“This is part of a technique to harm security and the IDF, and mainly those who serve. There is a serious problem here, of a government ministry that does not live up to its word, does not meet written agreements, and does not carry out government decisions, and laws,” Ya’alon said.

Yaakov Lappin contributed to this report.
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