IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz sought to mitigate the bleak forecasts for the IDF's operational capacity following concern raised in the wake of Finance Minister Yair Lapid's austerity measures, which took a bite at the security budget.
Lt. Gen. Gantz spoke at the site of an Infantry Corps drill in southern Shizafon, stressing the IDF would further streamline its procedures, "as it seems the economic reality in the coming years will not be easy, but I believe we will be up for the difficult task."
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"We are required to carry the stretcher when it comes to the economic issue, what is difficult for the society is difficult for us," said Gantz, and added that the IDF will examine "where to cut back."
The statements come one day after Gantz has ordered the cancelation of all reserves operational training in 2013, including four regiments which were called up for the next two weeks, and which were canceled immediately.
"Our top priority is to ensure the IDF maintains its operational capacity," Gantz said, adding the training regime of the regular corps will have to be readjusted following the calling off of the reserve soldiers.
The slimming procedures will include eliminating operational training within 70 additional battalions by the year's end. Additionally, Home Front Command training will be cut down, as will be engineering and artillery training.
Gantz has also addressed the sensitive security situation along several of Israel's borders, saying he does not foresee an attack against Israel by one of its neighbors. "There is only one thing that's stable about the situation: that it's unstable," he further added.
Finally he commented on the issue of universal conscription and the controversy surrounding the recommendations of the Peri Committee. "We will work toward the expansion of conscription, subject to the government's decisions, and we'll accept each Israeli citizen who wishes to take part in this effort."
"A haredi will remain haredi, the secular will remain secular. Everyone shall have his own world, but will contribute to the IDF, men and women alike. We will continue to serve and to regard it as a great privilege. We are not suckers. Serving in the IDF is not a burden."
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