Netanyahu in China 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
BEIJING/TEL AVIV – Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told reporters accompanying him to China on
Wednesday that he was giving his full backing to Finance Minister Yair Lapid’s
Lapid’s budget proposal
Netanyahu is scheduled to return to Israel from China on Friday.
He said that on Sunday his government will make decisions regarding defense
spending, and on Monday, “we will pass a budget. Israel needs a
allotted NIS 4 billion less for the
Defense Ministry in 2013 than in 2012. In the summer of 2012, when then-finance
minister Yuval Steinitz imposed across-the-board budget cuts in an attempt to
rein in the ballooning deficit, Netanyahu prevailed upon him to leave the
Defense Ministry budget mostly untouched.
Speaking on Wednesday evening,
Lapid said he has “the full cooperation of the prime minister” but conceded that
“there is still a discussion on the defense budget,” a discussion he said may
continue until just before the budget passes.
Even the defense
establishment understands that cuts are necessary, the finance minister
Speaking in the South on Tuesday, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon
said he was working with the Finance Ministry to settle on an “appropriate
budget” by Monday’s cabinet meeting, during which the budget will be brought for
“We have discussed this for several weeks – the Defense Ministry
and Finance Ministry – with the goal of formulating a budget that on one hand
will take into account the budget deficit we’ve come upon as a government, which
I cannot ignore, but on the other hand, will also provide an answer for our
security needs,” the Likud minister said.
Specifically, Ya’alon said, it
was important to protect multi-year programs so as not to harm “major
“It will be possible to shrink [the budget] somewhat in the
next year-and-a-half, on the condition that we’ll know to address it in the
following years,” he said.