Proposed 2016 Israeli defense budget insufficient, MKs say

IDF soldiers. Credit: IDF.

(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to The Knesset’s Joint Committee on the Defense Budget narrowly voted against the proposed 2016 Israeli defense budget Tuesday, saying it was insufficient. The joint committee, comprising members of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee and Finance Committee, rejected the budget outline by a vote of 16-15.

The panel ruled that the proposed $14.5 billion budget would fail to meet the defense establishment’s needs. Most committee members agreed that defense spending should be increased by at least $1.5 billion.

Ahead of the vote, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot, and Defense Ministry Director General Dan Harel urge the committee to reject the budget proposal.

“The proposed budget, as outlined here, will not allow the defense establishment and the IDF to pursue acquisitions and meet the country’s defense needs,” Ya’alon said. “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made it clear that the defense budget proposal was not final, and that defense spending should increase.”

“The threats Israel faces have not diminished, they have only changed,” he added. “Whether it’s the current wave of terrorism or other regional developments, the situation requires we revise intelligence and other readiness abilities.”

MK Tzachi Hanegbi (Likud) said, “The proposed budget is insufficient given the challenges the IDF faces. It would have been irresponsible to approve it.”

MK Moti Yogev (Habayit Hayehudi) said, “The current threats require more intelligence [gathering] and increased readiness. Unless we ensure the IDF is fully able to defend our existence, the harm that could befall the homefront could exponentially outweigh any addition to the [defense] budget.”

Posted on November 4, 2015 .