Photo: Avihu Shapira
Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon and Chief of Staff Benny Gantz
Photo: Avihu Shapira
IAF grounds reserve pilots as part of budget battle
After cancelling training for ground forces reservists, the army makes additional cuts that could hurt Air Force readiness.

Reservists pilots will be grounded and stop training in June after the Finance Ministry rejected a request for additional funds to the Defense Ministry's budget, defense sources said on Wednesday.



Earlier this week, IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz said that training for ground forces reservists scheduled for the rest of the year will be cancelled. As a result, reservists who were scheduled for training in the coming weeks and months received letters and phone calls informing them their reserve duty has been cancelled. 


The Air Force's unusual step will lead to the cancellation of reserve pilots' weekly flight training session. A senior defense source expressed concern it would be complicated, expensive and would take a long time to make up for the lost training time.


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The sources added that in other Western armies reserve pilots train a lot more often than their Israeli counterparts, thus remaining highly competent.


The army preferred postponing the cancellation of reserve pilots training as much as possible, first cancelling training for ground forces reservists. 


Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon plans to hold a cabinet meeting in order to force the Finance Ministry to adhere to laws and government decisions, including transferring NIS 1 billion to supplementary budgets to defense. 


A senior security source said Wednesday evening that "the Finance Ministry has declared war on security - illegally and illogically. This is a problem of governance and politics coming from the need to keep the coalition intact."


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