IDF soldiers search for remains of rockets fired from Lebanon in December 2015.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
As the Knesset’s committees began working on the 2017-2018 budget bill this week, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein and Knesset Finance Committee chairman Moshe Gafni promised trouble for the Finance Ministry if it creates obstacles to proper parliamentary oversight.
The Defense Ministry has the largest budget of all government ministries, and the joint Subcommittee of the Foreign Affairs and Defense and Finance Committees on the Defense Budget often laments that they are given very few details from the Defense Ministry.
Edelstein wrote a letter to Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman demanding that they submit a draft of the defense budget in the first draft of the budget bill.
“The government’s late submission of the defense budget last year was illegal,” Edelstein wrote, pointing out that the Basic Law dealing with the budget says the joint subcommittee on the defense budget must receive it at the same time the Knesset receives the general proposal.
“It is unthinkable that the special procedure established for the defense budget’s confidentiality will be taken advantage of to obstruct and delay transferring the proposal to those authorized to discuss and approve it in the Knesset,” he added.
Therefore, the Knesset Speaker wrote, if the defense budget is not submitted at the same time as the full 2017-2018 budget proposal, he will “consider not allowing the budget bill to be put on the agenda until the defense budget is submitted to the subcommittee.”