Knesset Member Shaul Mofaz, chairman of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee (FADC) and former Defense Minister and IDF chief of staff, is calling for immediate cutbacks in Israel's defense budget.
After refusing to add more than NIS 600 million (roughly $170 million) to the Defense Ministry's budget, Mofaz is planning to convene the Knesset committee in order to examine possible cuts.
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"The defense budget is not immune to the demand for social justice," Mofaz told Ynet. "Cuts must be made today and they are possible. I dare them to threaten us."
The Kadima MK and experienced security official has spent the past year devising a new plan that outlines new priorities with emphasis on social issues. The plan proposes a new division of the state budget, including allocating funds for affordable housing, higher education and a stronger middle class.
He was unimpressed with the government's recent attempts to address the social crisis. "Netanyahu's committees are meant to buy time," he said.
'Netanyahu never opened an empty fridge' (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
"I hope the prime minister and defense minister realize that this is not an attempt to discredit them. I dare them to threaten me and the public, I don't get scared easily. Their posturing as hundreds of thousands take to the streets is out of place."
There is a long list of projects that must be reviewed again, Mofaz said. "Nevertheless, the examination must be held responsibly and professionally," he added.
According to Mofaz, "The government had two years to act... If the prime minister had a clear policy he would have taken steps. But Netanyahu had lost his way, his inner compass is broken. He doesn't sense our children's frustration. "
The FADC chairman further added: "Netanyahu never paid a mortgage, doesn't know what a one and a half bedroom apartment is, and never had to open an empty fridge. Instead of setting up a committee he could have dealt with these issues long ago with his inflated government."
On Sunday, Netanyahu announced that he has instructed Professor Manuel Trachtenberg, head of the government-appointed team tasked with resolving the social crisis, to come up with "concrete solutions during the course of September."
Ronen Medzini contributed to this report
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