IDF budget cuts will leave "a large number" of settlements unguarded, warned Dani Dayan, head of the Council of Jewish Communities in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip. He said he had received a phone call Tuesday from the IDF informing him of drastic cuts in the number of soldiers assigned to guard the settlements, within a few weeks. "The cuts will leave quite a large number of settlements without any military presence," said Dayan. This cut was being made just as the danger of Palestinian attacks was increasing and the number of checkpoints was being reduced, he said. He sent an urgent letter to Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi and asked him to freeze the cuts. An IDF spokesman said that while the army continued to make every effort to ensure the safety of settlements, changes were made on a basis of assessments of the situation and as part of a process of privatization of defense missions. The spokesman added that the settlements were informed of any changes in advance.