Budget Wars- Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Sunday warned Cabinet members against approving the socioeconomic reforms recommended by the Trajtenberg Committee, but despite his best efforts, the report passed by a large majority, with 21 ministers voting in favor and eight voting against it.
As part of the committee's financial reallocation, the defense establishment will face a budget cut of some NIS 3 billion, which it claims will amount to some NIS 9 billion in reality, and will slow down the development of missile defense systems, and also significantly limit the number of military drills, equipment and ammunition stockpiles.
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IDF sources predicted that the new, trimmed-down budget will slow down the development of the Iron Dome missile defense system, and enable the deployment of only six batteries throughout the country.
The development of the Magic Wand defense system for medium-range missiles and Arrow 2 and 3, designed to thwart long-range missiles, officials warned, might come to a complete halt.
IDF Chief Benny Gantz, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Miniter
Matan Vilnai (Photo: Eli Elgarat)
Security establishment officials are also concerned that the budget cut will lead to an "operational grounding" of some one third of all IAF jets, as well as some 20% of IDF tanks.
The Navy, officials added, is also expected to suffer a cutback of up to a fifth of its operations, and the military's cyber warfare program will also most likely be put on ice.
The officials claimed that leaders of the socioeconomic protest movement did not include the reduction of military expenditures on their list of demands, and that they probably did not realize it was "a matter of life or death."
IDF sources also stressed that between 2003 and 2009, the wages of military personnel did not increase, and suggested that if governmental offices and the public sector would have maintained a similar financial responsibilty, some NIS 53 billion could have been saved.
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