Defense Minister Ehud Barak _311.
(photo credit: Reuters/Blaire Gable)
Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Monday stated that the Israeli economy
has been able to flourish in recent years mainly because of the calm
Israel has experienced on the security front, a calm he warned would be
damaged if the defense budget was cut.
Speaking before the
Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Barak said that "the
defense budget has decreased consistently over the years...with the
current instability in the region, this fact alone should end the
argument on cutting the defense budget."
the Finance Ministry's claims that the defense budget had actually gone
up recently, Barak claimed that defense spending was slated to account
for only 13 percent of the 2012 budget, whereas, 24 percent of the
budget had gone toward defense in 1986.
Barak said that Israel was facing its most complicated set of challenges
in its history. He said that while the long-term effects of the Arab
Spring remained unknown, the turmoil in surrounding states was causing
"an increased dimension of uncertainty" in the short-term and the
Barak: Cutting defense budget will hurt economy
"The quickly unfolding events require alertness, preparedness and proper
deployment from the defense establishment, with Hezbollah, Hamas and
Iran also in the background," he stated. Barak rejected a claim by
Fiance Minister Yuval Steinitz that the Arab Spring lessened the
security threats against Israel by weakening the Jewish State's
Barak said that in the face of Israel's security situation and the
legitimate social justice demands of protesters the budget should be
The defense minister accused the Finance Ministry of failing to fulfill its agreements.
"Money that the Treasury agreed to transfer to the Defense Ministry is
not being transferred and this is hurting security and the economy."