Defense to receive NIS 780m. at expense of other ministries

Defense budget has been the subject of intense dispute between the Treasury and the Defense Ministry in recent months.

December 21, 2011 15:31
1 minute read.
IDF soldiers in the Mefalsim area of southern Israel.

IDF soldiers tank Mefalsim area_311. (photo credit: Reuters)

This year’s defense budget received an NIS 780 million boost at the expense of other ministries, after the Knesset Finance Committee approved a Treasury request Wednesday.

This increases the Defense Ministry’s expenditure ceiling from NIS 59.93 billion to NIS 60.7b. To finance the increase, funds will be transferred from the following ministries: Welfare and Social Services; Industry, Trade and Labor; Housing; Tourism; Communications; Energy and Water; and Environmental Protection.

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Committee members were split over the decision, as opposition MKs questioned the Treasury’s refusal to explain the funds transfer.

“I am ready to leave [the room] if that is what it takes to provide the information,” Labor MK Ghaleb Majadle said.

“It doesn’t make sense that public officials conceal essential information on the transfer of hundreds of millions of shekels.”

Finance Committee Chairman Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism) said the transfer was carried out because of the budget under-performance of the other ministries. He added that details of where the money would be spent would be provided to the joint Knesset Finance and Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.

The defense budget has been the subject of intense dispute between the Treasury and the Defense Ministry in recent months. Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz and Treasury officials have called for tighter supervision of the defense budget, but Defense Minister Ehud Barak said the budget should be expanded to meet new security threats.

The other beneficiary of Wednesday’s Finance Committee meeting was the Holocaust Survivors Rights Authority, which was granted an additional NIS 292m. to fund compensation for disabled survivors. This increases the authority’s budget from NIS 2.92b. to NIS 3.2b.

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