Finance Minister Yair Lapid
said Thursday that Israel
can't afford to give the army the budget it wants. "We need to address the crises that cost money and the army has to pull its weight," Lapid said in a special interview with Ynet.
"An entire generation is collapsing, who will enlist in 10 years if we don't deal with Israel's lost generation? Security is as important to me as it is for them (defense officials) but my job is to look at the bigger picture, to see the housing crisis, the middle class. "
The political-security cabinet is set to convene Thursday to discuss the defense budget. IDF
Chief of Staff Benny Gantz
is seeking to reduce budget cuts by NIS 3.5 billion. Minister Lapid is against the reduction. "I will not be seen to be badmouthing the IDF. Anyone who's done reserve duty in the past 20 years knows there are places from which to cut. Any brigadier-general makes more money than me as well as the prime minister."
Addressing criticism he has done little to help the middle class since his election, Lapid said: "I'm dying to work some miracles but I can't. These things don't change in the course of six months. You won't see my defending this budget. This budget was passed because we had no choice. We need time and patience."
Commenting on his public image he remarked, "I understand any person who's angry at me and I tell all those who write to me on Facebook 'have some patience.'"
He noted that he's planning to push for civil union
legislation that will allow civil and gay marriage.
Asked about the rift with Economy Minister Naftali Bennett
he said, "We agree on 70% of the issues and disagree on 30%. We have disagreements on the peace process. It's okay for coalition partners to have disagreements."
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