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Yair Lapid Photo: Gil Yochanon
Yair Lapid Photo: Gil Yochanon
 
 

Defense budget crisis ends with compromise

Finance minister reaches deal with defense officials: NIS 1 billion to IDF in exchange for vacating Sde Dov base to build apartments.

Yoav Zitun and Attila Somfalvi
Published: 06.16.14, 22:12 / Israel News

The long budget battle between the security establishment and the Finance Ministry ended on Monday when finance officials announced that they settled on a compromise with the Defense Ministry.

 

 

The Defense Ministry agreed to vacate the military section of Tel Aviv's Sde Dov airport by 2017 and in return will receive a billion shekels injection to the 2014 budget.

 

The planned layout for the new neighborhood in North Tel Aviv. (Representation: Architect Ari Cohen)
The planned layout for the new neighborhood in North Tel Aviv. (Representation: Architect Ari Cohen)

 

Some 16,000 apartments will be built on the civilian and military sections of the small airport.

 

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The Defense Ministry also announced that it agreed to refrain from requesting additional budget injections during the 2014 fiscal year, but due to the kidnapping in the West Bank – and IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz expected an extended operation – there is no guarantee this commitment will hold.

 

Meanwhile, the billion shekels transferred to the IDF will allow training sessions to resume as planned, including the training and operational flights cancelled because of the budget crisis.

 

A defense source stressed that there was no connection between the large-scale operation to return the three abducted boys and the agreement reached between the two ministries: "The agreement was settled as part of both ministries' determination to prevent the prolonged media brawl."

 

He emphasized the billion shekels will allow the IDF to "complete its planned trainings and operations for 2014 in a sufficient manner."

 

For several months, the two ministries conducted a mudslinging campaign over the IDF's request for NIS 2.75 billion injection to its budget for the year. In recent weeks defense officials announced the cancellations of training sessions, cutbacks for career soldiers, grounding of flights, and a significant decline in the Israeli military's ability to combat future threats.

 

Last month, IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz broke his silence on the affair. "As of now, planned reservist trainings will be cancelled for the rest of year."

 

Finance Minister Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid) hit back against the defense establishment, saying "There will be never be efficient management in the army if they'll get more money every time they yell, 'Daddy, Daddy'."

 

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