Cabinet Stays Undecided Over Proposed Defense Budget Cut

Ministers hear Brodet report regarding proposed cuts; Ashkenazi warns of expected difficulties in IDF.

The security cabinet did not reach a decision Wednesday regarding the expected budget cut in the defense budget. The cabinet appointed Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Finance Minister Roni Bar-On to meet in order to reach an agreement in the matter.

In Wednesday's meeting, the ministers listened to overviews given by the Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi regarding the budget issues in the IDF and the difficulties and dangers that would arise should the proposed NIS 480 million be cut from the defense budget.

One of the ministers defined Ashkenazi's overview as "chilling." The cabinet was also presented with an overview of the Brodet Commission's final report, charged with reviewing the defense budget, but did not discuss the matter due to lack of time.

The commission's report constitutes the most comprehensive ever publicized on the functioning of the IDF, its structure and budget, with particularly harsh criticism of the way in which the IDF and the Defense Ministry handled military and budgetary business to date.

The committee is headed by David Brodet, former Director General at the treasury and head of the budgets department. Brodet present the cabinet with a plan to increase the defense budget, including a changeover to a five-year budget plan and a budget increase of NIS 46 billion over a decade. In addition, Brodet introduced a comprehensive economic management plan to rehabilitate the Defense Ministry.