The cabinet today approved a 2% cut in all ministries' budget to pay for the construction of the Egypt border fence, which is aimed to block the inflow of illegal immigrants.
Sources inform ''Globes'' that, during the meeting Minister of Defense Ehud Barak proposed increasing the cut in the defense budget provided that this was not considered as part of the across-the-board budget cut. Barak sought to avoid the precedent of the Ministry of Defense sharing in an across-the-board budget cut and to prevent the budget cut from coming out of its base budget.
Ministry of Defense officials proposed that the ministry share in the financing of the fence. However, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sided with Minister of Finance Yuval Steinitz and decided that the Ministry of Defense would share in the across-the-board budget cut.
Steinitz criticized the Ministry of Defense officials, saying, "It's impossible to hold the stick from both ends. The Ministry of Defense cannot take what it gets under the Brodet report. The ministry must implement transparency and streamlining. The Ministry of Defense was supposed to finance the full cost of the fence. The defense budget is no different from the education and health budgets, and it should therefore bear the across-the-board cut just like everyone else."
The other ministers supported Steinitz unanimously.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on December 11, 2011
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