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