Photo: Noam Moskowitz
The Knesset's Joint Defense Budget Committee declined on Sunday a request by the Defense Ministry for additional funds. The NIS 620 million (roughly $175.6 million) request was rejected due to "lack of credibility."
The Defense Ministry said that the additional funds were needed in order to meet the needs of the Air Force, the GOC Army Headquarters, Military Intelligence and several other units, but MK Shaul Mofaz (Kadima), who heads the committee, said the request's brief was "lacking sufficient details."
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Other committee members noted that in light of the growing social unrest, the addition of such significant funds must be given serious consideration.
"It is my impression that the Defense Ministry is not presenting the changes to its budget as transparently as required by law," Mofaz said.
"I want to know where every shekel is coming from and where it's going... The data presented by the Defense Ministry is too ambiguous and that's why I can't approve this request."
The defense establishment, he added, "Can't increase its budget without the government and the Knesset's approval anyway."
Mofaz said the committee would subpoena Defense Minister Ehud Barak to appear before it and explain in detail the need for the additional funds.
"We've had enough of these antics. This type of conduct is borderline illegal," the former IDF chief fumed. "This committee is not the Defense Ministry's rubber stamp."
The Joint Defense Budget Committee did however approve a NIS 27 million ($7.65 million) budget request for the formation of the landmine removal administration.
A Defense Ministry statement rebuffed Mofaz' allegations: "The Defense Ministry rejects MK Mofaz' accusations and wonders about the nature of the decision to deny the budget request, which is directly detrimental to (national) security.
"The Defense Ministry follows government guidelines as well as the letter of the law. Additional funds were agreed upon with the Prime Minister's Office and the Treasury at the time the 2011-2012 State budget was approved."
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