The Knesset Joint Committee on the Defense Budget today approved a NIS 1.65 billion transfer to the defense budget. The source of the money is unused budgets by other ministries in 2011.
Knesset Finance Committee chairman MK Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism) said that the discovery of this money meant that there was no need to cut the defense budget to finance free education. "There is money," he said. "There are reserves of NIS 5 billion that are being returned to the Ministry of Finance because they were not used by ministries. There's a huge hole in the state budget. There's no need to cut the defense budget to finance free education." He added that if the money was not used for defense and was returned to the Treasury, it would not reach the right goals, such as welfare. "The money would be lost in the Ministry of Finance," he warned.
Mofaz: "This coalition has no heart"
Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman MK Shaul Mofaz (Kadima) said in response that the decision sealed the fate of the Trajtenberg Committee. "The Trajtenberg Committee was buried today. Its recommendations have been buried along with the dream of social justice during the term of this government. The coalition has an automatic majority on the committee, and the government's demand for a NIS 1.61 billion supplement will pass. But this coalition has no heart, it has no mercy, and it has no soul," he said at the start of the joint committee meeting.
Mofaz added, "The Israeli government overwhelmingly prefers the defense budget over the strengthening of the Israeli people. The conduct of this government and the man who heads it about everything concerning the defense budget is a scandal in itself. Away from the sunlight, with a handshake behind closed doors, a supplement of hundreds of millions of shekels is approved."
Mofaz asserted, "The defense system allows itself to pay and commit huge sums that it has not yet received and which have not yet been authorized. The prime minister abets this, the finance minister abets this, and the majority of the Israeli government abets this."
The NIS 1.65 billion follows on the NIS 780 million defense budget supplement that the Finance Committee approved last week, and the NIS 420 million approved in August. Yesterday, the Defense Budget Joint Committee approved a transfer of NIS 2.7 billion, including NIS 2.57 billion of US military aid from 2010 for use in 2011, and NIS 291 million from the shekel surplus.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on December 28, 2011
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