Yacimovich, Gal-On: Defense cut won't actually happen

Opposition parties came out against Monday's cabinet decision to cut the defense budget by NIS 3 billion, instead of NIS 4 billion as planned.

Labor party chairwoman Shelly Yacimovich 370 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Labor party chairwoman Shelly Yacimovich 370
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Opposition leader Shelly Yacimovich (Labor) called it strange that the government suddenly found a billion shekels reserved in order to prevent defense budget cuts, while they couldn't be found to prevent increasing VAT or cuts in the Education or Welfare Ministries.
"The Finance Minister must immediately reveal what other 'reserves' the government has and explain his order of priorities in how he uses them," Yacimovich said.
According to the Labor leader, "experience shows that time and again, in practicality, the Defense Ministry gets its budget back - not only what is cut, but more than that, without any in-depth discussion."
"Here too, any pretense of new politics melted away, after Lapid led his voters astray," she stated.
MK Isaac Herzog (Labor) also pointed out that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu promised the extra billion shekels would come from reserved funds.
"In the last year, we were told that the economic situation is excellent and the deficit will only be NIS 18 billion, and the prime minister said the deficit will not have a significant effect on Israeli citizens. After the election, it turned out that the numbers they sold us were wrong and the deficit is more than double - NIS 39 billion! Where is the truth, Mr. Prime Minister?" Herzog asked at a Labor faction meeting.
Meretz leader Zehava Gal-On said cabinet members wasted a day and a half on the defense budget, deciding in the end to cut far less than is necessary.
"It's bizarre that it took a day and a half to give in to the Defense Ministry yet again, but it's mostly unfortunate that the ministers are wasting their time on a cut that won't happen. Anyway, the connection between the approved defense budget in the beginning of the year and the real expenses of the security monster is weak," she stated.
NIS 10 billion more than the defense budget is spent on security in the average year, Gal-On explained, and the expenses are wasteful and lack transparency.
Gal-On accused the Defense Ministry of "blackmailing the public with threats to empty the public's pockets," and if it does not stop, it won't have a country to protect anymore.