ashkenazi GOOD 311.
(photo credit: IDF Spokesperson)
Anticipating the Finance Ministry announcement regarding cuts in the coming
defense budget, IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi went on the
offensive Tuesday morning, emphasizing to members of the Knesset’s Foreign
Affairs and Defense Committee the damage done by underfunding the armed forces,
while playing up organizational streamlining and efficiency within the
Ashkenazi, together with IDF budget maven Brig.-Gen.
Frozenfar, emphasized that the IDF was not requesting a budget increase,
rather asking that the Treasury uphold the 2007 Brodet agreement,
the IDF to be a binding formula for calculating the defense budget.
coming budget, according to that formula, should be NIS 55 billion,
according to defense officials is more than the Finance Ministry is
Frozenfar presented data drawn from the Central Bureau of
Statistics and the Treasury to support his argument that the IDF had
streamlined and efficient, but was discriminated against,
Between 2000-2010, he said, the Public Security Ministry’s
budget increased by 78 percent, the health budget increased by 44.4%,
security budget by a mere 34.6%.
The IDF, the officers complained, paid
astronomical property taxes to local governments and paid fuel duties
private industries such as ZIM were exempted. In the recent budgetary
following Operation Cast Lead, the IDF was also forced to pay NIS 40
compensation to the United Nations.
Meanwhile, said Frozenfar, the IDF
had trimmed personnel expenses by changing systems of retention and
IDF longtime employees, and by reducing by 40% the number of civilians
The average salary in the IDF, he said, is now 10% lower on average than
rest of the public sector.
“We are thin, but it is sexy to attack us. The
fat one, which is the rest of the public sector, isn’t touched,”
He added that if the Finance Ministry took the same steps
taken by the IDF to reduce personnel costs, it would save NIS 40
Ashkenazi complained that the budgetary demands of the proposed
security fence to block border infiltrators from the Sinai were not
backed up by
operational utility. He argued that the project, which carries a price
over a billion shekels, would not prevent infiltrations, because once
and work-seekers crossed the fence, IDF soldiers would not shoot the
And although Ashkenazi noted significant advances in home
front preparedness, including the expected operational use of two Iron
batteries in the south in September, he added that, due to lack of
were insufficient numbers of gas masks to be able to provide all Israeli
citizens and residents with them.