Barak vows to fight Treasury bid to fire 1,050 career officers

Defense Minister Ehud Barak lashed out on Thursday at the Treasury's proposed cuts to the defense budget, which include firing more than 1,000 career servicemen. "A responsible and sober government cannot cut the defense budget in light of the challenges and threats that Israel faces, as well as the current complex diplomatic-security reality," Barak said. Israel, he added, was facing serious challenges in the near future that required "significant resources" and that he would fight the proposed cuts "with full force." Defense officials added that if the cuts were made, the IDF might be forced to downsize its procurement and training plans for the coming year. The Treasury's plan includes laying off 1,050 career officers and non-commissioned officers as well as converting 1,000 military positions to civilian jobs. The Treasury also wants to raise the retirement age and freeze promotions - which include salary raises - in the IDF and the Defense Ministry for a year.