Sneh: Budget Fails to Address Security Threat to Home Front

Former deputy defense minister says the budget lacks NIS 1.5 billion needed to defend against Iran threat.

The defense budget fails to offer adequate measures to tackle the threat Iran poses to the home front, former deputy defense minister MK Ephraim Sneh said on Tuesday.

Sneh told reporters at a press conference that he cannot put up with what he sees as neglecting the safety of the home front, and that he intends to vote against the budget unless large funds are allocated to it.

"This is unacceptable," Sneh said. "The root of evil is the advancement of a macroeconomic policy of reducing government expenses at the expense of the security of the State of Israel. The citizens of Israel should know that there is a twisted priority scale. They are much less safe than they could be," he added.

Sneh listed a number of areas that he says suffer from insufficient budgeting, after the Home Front Command received less than a quarter of its initial demands. These include the suspension of gas mask distribution for an unlimited period of time, the lack of budget for stepping up the protection of houses around the Gaza Strip, and the decision to abort the acquisition of a new fleet of bulletproof buses to operate in the West Bank.

"The most elementary aspects of the home front are neglected," Sneh said. "The IDF is short of hundreds of millions of shekels to carry out its basic functions."

Sneh said the budget shortage adds up to roughly NIS 1.5 billion, and that the responsibility lies with the politicians, not the IDF. "Last night I voted against the budget in the defense budget sub-committee," Sneh said, "and I am going to do the same on Thursday night unless these flaws are corrected."

Sneh said that last year, when he was still deputy defense minister, he fought for extra-budgetary funds well into 2007, and that he is adamant to prevent this from happening again.

He also said that the defense budget was cut from NIS 49.4 billion in 2007 to NIS 48.3 billion in 2008.