IDF Chief Warns Budget Cuts May Impede Israel's Defense Abilities

Benny Gantz says IDF will agree to cuts in defense budget in favor of increased spending on social services, but warns that it may impede IDF's ability to counter threats.

IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz acknowledged Sunday that Israel’s defense budget may be cut due to the public demand for increased spending on social services, but warned that a reduced defense budget may compromise Israel's ability to face threats.

During a meeting of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense committee on Sunday, Gantz said that the IDF will not oppose government attempts to cut defense spending but warned that a reduced budget may compromise Israel’s ability to face certain military challenges. “We will present all our needs in the face of challenges posed,” Gantz said, “but we will accept any budget cuts demanded by the government.”

IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz

“We need to remember that we are entering a period of instability and uncertainty, turning the threats in the region more grave,” he said, “We may be forced to give up new weapons systems but not our combat readiness and skill.”

Gantz also commented on the latest rift between Jerusalem and Ankara. He said that the IDF will not oppose an Israeli decision to apologize to Turkey for the IDF raid on a Gaza-bound ship, part of last year's Gaza flotilla, which resulted in the death of nine Turkish activists.

Gantz was also asked to comment on the Palestinian plan to seek UN-backed statehood in September. He said that military intelligence services are gathering information in preparation for September’s events. He said the IDF expects thousands of non-violent protesters to flood Israel’s borders and settlements in protest.