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Elham AbolFateh

Middle East

IDF seeks higher budget to handle 'dramatic shift in region'

Wednesday 22/November/2017 - 08:58 PM
Sada El Balad
Edited by Ahmed Moamar
Army، defense minister، look to renegotiate 5-year Gideon plan reached with Finance Ministry to receive additional NIS 4.8 billion; noting major changes in region، advocates cite Iranian entrenchment in Syria، Palestinian reconciliation as game-changers necessitating more funds; MoF objects، demands army trim its own 'fat' first، as Ynet said.
Two years after the IDF's multi-year Gideon efficiency plan went into effect and ensured a sort of industrial peace and a permanent budget for the army، the security establishment is nevertheless seeking to renegotiate the agreement with the Ministry of Finance and push for an augmented budget due to significant security transformations in the region.
Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman has been engaged in marathon discussions with Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon following the security establishment's demand to add NIS 4.8 billion to the IDF's budget in addition to the terms delineated in the Gideon MYP (multi-year plan).
During a press briefing، Lieberman and other security officials reminded those present of the key clause in the agreement between the Finance and Defense Ministries from November 2015، which stated there will be no additional negotiations "unless an economic or security change takes place that both sides consider major."
"There has been a fundamental، dramatic shift in the region. Some things we can discuss openly and some we can't. Any mistake can set off the entire region. No intelligence could have foreseen the lighting-quick changes such as the Lebanese prime minister's resignation. Many changes couldn't have been predicted. Our first goal is to prevent the next war and that can only be achieved using active interwar operations (clandestine IDF missions foiling the growth in enemy strength—ed) and shoring up deterrence،" Lieberman said.
A senior IDF officer stressed the army's special operations to prevent Israel's enemies arming themselves with advanced weaponry have shifted "a click to the right. When we started with the MYP we realized we could shift resources from handling third-tier threats back to first-tier threats due to the (Iranian) nuclear agreement، but that working premise is completely in flux right now."

More tools were needed، the officer continues، for "providing better penetrative capabilities and precise armaments. Now's our time to make a difference. Iranian military industries have been closing the gaps on technological capability. We've stretched the Gideon plan's budget to its breaking point."

Senior finance officials، meanwhile، deflected the defense officials' claims and stated in no uncertain terms they had no intention of renegotiating the already-agreed program. "This is precisely why we decided on a five-year plan to begin with: to prevent these tiffs and demands for billions of shekels more. If the security establishment wants more funds، it'll need to take it out of its own spending،" the officials said.

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