Yamit 2000 water park
Photo: Arik Alon
As part of the streamlining procedures necessitated by the much-decried cuts to the defense budget, the IDF cut by a third the training durations of three regular infantry battalions of the Kfir Brigade. The soldiers are set to return to operational activity earlier than usual, nearly a month ahead of schedule.
In addition, the scheduled trips of hundreds of soldiers to a water park were also cancelled, on the heels of a Ynet exposé that some 400 non-combat soldiers arrived at the Yamit 2000 water park in Holon Tuesday to a sporting event the cost of which to the IDF was estimated at tens of thousands of shekels.
- Gantz: Cuts are tough yet we'll persevere
- Reserves taken off combat operations
- IDF takes soldiers on costly sporting event
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 – a scenario unlikely to be repeated soon.
Intelligence Chief Aviv Kochavi ordered to call off all the planned recreational activities for military intelligence units in the foreseeable future. Thus, a day of scheduled leisure activities for some 500 soldiers of the 8200 Unit at the Holon water park was cancelled, in a move symbolic of the IDF's coping with the austerity measures imposed upon it by the Treasury.
The early recalls of regular troops from training are a consequence of Gantz's decision to cancel all reserves operational training in 2013, including four regiments which were called up for the next two weeks.
The decision was made last week at the end of a General Staff meeting dealing with cuts in the defense budget. By year’s end, operational training will be eliminated within 70 additional battalions. Additionally, Home Front Command training will be cut down, as will Engineering and Artillery training.
The IDF is currently examining a number of additional measures to bridge the gap between operational costs and the funds afforded by the new budget. A statement released by the military said educational and social activities are among the candidates for slimming down.
- Receive Ynetnews updates
directly to your desktop