Ram Belinkov Tipped as New State Budget Director

Sources close to finance minister-designate Roni Bar-On say his first appointment in the treasury will be naming Ram Belinkov director of the national budget.

Belinkov, who has already served as deputy supervisor of budgets, is at present serving under as Bar-On's director-general in the Interior Ministry. Bar-On is expected to take office in the coming days.

Bar-On reportedly was willing to appoint Belinkov to a higher rank, to replace Yarom Ariav as the Finance Ministry's director-general. But sources close to Belinkov said he didn't want to replace Ariav, who is doing a good job. There is a long friendship between the two men.

Another position reportedly open to Belinkov is that of accountant-general, currently held by Yaron Zelekha.

Belinkov is said to favor Zelekha's replacement. Sources close to Belinkov told Haaretz that the treasury's future director-general believed that Zelekha in his current job was harmful to the treasury.

As budget director, Belinkov is expected to favor restraint aimed at keeping the annual increase in government expenditure below 1.7 percent, which is the rate of population growth. Belinkov has nonetheless said he would expand public spending on infrastructure projects such as roads. "He is still concerned that the money might go to waste instead of on much-needed infrastructure projects," said a source.

In addition, Belinkov believes that state stipends should only go to the needy. "I myself am well off, but I am still entitled to a stipend, as the father of a large family. There is no reason for this," Belinkov has said.

Belinkov offered to review the recipients of state allowances and to tax those who also receive good salaries. "His suggestion would see the more affluent stipend receivers paying taxes for their allowances, while the poorer and needier will be exempt" sources said.