Budget uncertainty leaves defense funding undecided

Knesset c'tee votes down Defense Ministry request for additional NIS 620m; Mofaz says ministry not operating in "good faith."

August 7, 2011 21:13
1 minute read.
Mofaz, Gantz FADC

Mofaz, Gantz, FADC_311. (photo credit: IDF )


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Concern is growing in the IDF over the possibility that the defense budget will be cut due to the social protests that have swept the country.

The army had requested a budget boost to establish new units and to purchase new platforms, such as fighter jets, drones and armored personnel carriers.

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“We believe that the changes in the Middle East prove the need for us to grow,” a senior IDF officer said. “There is no doubt that the size of the military has significance regarding our ability to deter our enemies and to defeat them.”

Last week, Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen.Benny Gantz told the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that the army would accept decisions made regarding the budget but warned that now – with the instability in the Middle East – was not the time to cut military spending.

The IDF had planned on finalizing its new multi-year plan, which is expected to go into effect in January, by the beginning of August, but defense officials said that the process could be delayed due to the current uncertainty regarding the budget it will receive.

On Sunday, the committee rejected a Defense Ministry request for NIS 620 million which it said was intended for the Air Force, the Ground Forces Command and Military Intelligence. The defense budget for 2011 started at NIS 51 billion but has received a number of supplements over the past year amounting to an additional NIS 5b.

Committee chairman Shaul Mofaz said that he voted down the request since the Defense Ministry was not operating in “good faith and with transparency.”

“I want to know where every shekel is coming from and where it is going and based on that information we will decide if the budget supplement should be approved,” Mofaz said.

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