Yamit 2000 water park
Photo: Arik Alon
Against the backdrop of IDF officials' clamor against cuts to the defense budget, Ynet learned that some 400 non-combat soldiers arrived at a water park Tuesday at the expense of the IDF, to a sporting event the cost of which was estimated at tens of thousands of shekels.
The added cost included entrance to the Yamit 2000 water park in Holon, transportation, meals and activities.
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On Monday, IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz said that the IDF was forced to tighten its belt in light of the cutting of NIS 3 billion (some $800 million) from the defense budget, adding that the army would cut down on troops' training and on combat operations of reserve units.
On Tuesday morning, however, on-duty soldiers, accompanied by a few officers and NCOs, started a day at the pool, with many a meal and treats.
"It's a lot of fun that they took us on a day like this. A little water, pool, fun," said A., a soldier. "I heard about the cuts to the defense budget, but I guess that if they want to, they can always afford things like this.
"I agree this looks bad. If it were up to me I would call this off," A. added.
His friend H. disagreed. "I'm not bothered by the defense budget right now. I don’t know much about these things. Anyway, we deserve to have some fun. I know we serve in the Kirya (completing non-combat service), but we also deserve to have fun."
The Defense Ministry said in response that "In light of the budgetary reality, the costs of a sporting event, planned a long time ago, were reduced to the bare minimum, summing up to only a few tens of thousands of shekels."
"This sporting event," the statement added, "takes place every few years in order to express gratitude to soldiers and junior officers who work day and night for Israel's security in one of the defense establishment's elite units. The event was planned and approved in accordance with proper protocol."
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