Shas Chairman and Interior Minister Eli Yishai announced Wednesday that his party will vote against the proposed lateral budget cut meant to finance the Trajtenberg Committee recommendations for social reform.
"This is not the time to hurt the Welfare and Housing ministries and the grants given to local authorities – we should be increasing the deficit," he said.
Other ministers also voiced their objection to the pending cuts: Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov said that "This will kill government activities. We approved a biennial budget so the ministries could work, not so we'd have to deal with cuts' proposals all the time."
Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz informed the cabinet that the government will discuss the proposed NIS 750 million (approx. $195.3 million) defense budget cuts during its next meeting.
This "tiny cut," Steinitz explained, would come in place of the Treasury's original demand to slash several billions off the defense budget.
The defense cuts will join the proposed, 4% lateral budget cuts Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu aims to inflict on all government ministries, to come up with the NIS 1.5 billion ($389 million) needed for the Trajtenberg plan.
Minister Yossi Peled (Likud) commented that the "zigzagging" over the defense budget was "too confusing"; while Vice Premier Moshe Yaalon noted that "the defense budget is not a taboo. It should be addressed seriously, not with slogans."
Science and Technology Minister Daniel Hershkowitz warned that "while the goal of the cutbacks is important, we have to be careful not to throw out the baby with the bath water."
Omri Efraim contributed to this report
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