Sneh says funds to deal with Iran lacking

Former deputy defense minister Sneh: 2008 budget does not provide enough to protect citizens of Israel.

sneh aj 224.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
sneh aj 224.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The defense establishment will not be able to defend its citizens against the threat of a nuclear Iran with the funds allocated in the 2008 budget, said MK Ephraim Sneh (Labor) Tuesday. For the first time in 15 years, Sneh said he would vote against the budget when it comes to a final vote Thursday. "The citizens of Israel are much less safe than they should be, and this is unacceptable," Sneh said. "This budget seeks to advance a macroeconomic policy of reducing government costs at the expense of the security of the State of Israel. The citizens of Israel should know that there is a twisted priority scale." Sneh outlined three basic objections that he held to the 2008 budget. In addition to the lack of funding to defend Israel against the threat of a nuclear Iran, Sneh said that funding was severely lacking for the Home Front Command and for the distribution and manufacturing of gas masks. "There have been discussions about how and when to hand out gas masks, but the fact remains that in 2008 there is no budget to hand them out," said Sneh. He added that the Home Front Command would be unable both to protect the Gaza periphery residents from Kassam attacks and reinforce buses in the West Bank. "The most elementary thing that they need, they're not receiving." "All the three things I have examined are serious, but the one thing that is being called the most imminent threat to the State of Israel is the threat of a nuclear Iran. This threat is growing, yet we do not have the budget to appropriately deal with it." Sneh refused to go into detail regarding what types of programs Israel is developing towards defense against the Iranian nuclear threat, and therefore what funds would be necessary, but he said that the citizens of Israel need to know that they are not "protected as well as they should be." Sneh said that when he was deputy defense minister last year he fought for extra-budgetary funds well into 2007, and that he is adamant about preventing this from happening again. He also said that the defense budget was cut from NIS 49.4 billion in 2007 to NIS 48.3 billion in 2008.