Israel’s Military Demands $1b Increase in Budget amid Spiraling Regional Tension
Israel's military has requested an increase of nearly $1 billion amid escalating military tension with the Palestinians and Syrians, according to a report by Middle East News Line (MENL).
Defense chiefs submitted the request for 3.9 billion shekels [$940 million] during talks with Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer and Finance Minister Silvan Shalom. Ben-Eliezer has approved the increase and the issue is being discussed with Shalom, said MENL.
Israeli government sources were quoted as saying that 900 million shekels have already been transferred for the military for fiscal 2001. So far, Shalom has approved an additional 2 billion shekel increase for the military and 500 million shekels for Israeli police and security forces.
Shalom has rejected requests for budget increases from other ministries and has asked the military to scale down its demands. The finance minister said Israel is undergoing a recession and has fewer budget resources. Shalom and Ben-Eliezer met on Monday and additional meetings are planned later this week.
"We don't plan to whitewash the issue," Shalom said. "On the other hand, we don't plan to operate with a stopwatch in our hand." – Albawaba.com
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