The masses who took to the streets Saturday demanded the government invest more resources to solve social issues – but at what cost? IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen Benny Gantz warned Sunday that potential cutbacks in the defense budget in favor of the social activists' demands will result in diminishing the IDF's ability to meet potential threats.
Sunday afternoon saw the IDF chief give members of the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee his monthly overview.
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"We will present (the government) with all our needs vis-à-vis the challenges. We must also consider the times we are living in, when threats are becoming more substantial. We cannot compromise our abilities or readiness," he said.
Nevertheless, Gantz said that the military will abide by the government's edicts, and should the defense establishment be required to trim costs, it will not be at the expense of troops' training.
"The immediate implication is that we'll be forces to give up new (defense) systems, but we cannot allow a situation where troops are not training."
Gantz further said that the military's perennial work-plan stresses enhancing Military Intelligence "in order to overcome the nearing period of uncertainty. We must utilize technological advantages… both in the defensive field and in other fields as well."
Members of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee were also briefed on the military's preparation ahead of September: "The potential for conflict certainly exists. We predict several thousands will exercise non-violent protest, which will make its way towards the volatile areas near the (security) fence or the settlements."
Ahead of potential mass riots in September, he added, the military has acquired significant amounts of special crowd-control measures, "And we are devoting time and capabilities to intelligence gathering and analysis, including monitoring the Internet and Facebook."
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