Israel’s Defense Ministry made a speedy climbdown from a decision Wednesday to decrease grants to IDF reserve soldiers after a furious reaction from the Knesset Finance Committee.
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon on Thursday ordered that 60 million shekels from the defense budget be allocated to reserve soldiers after the Finance Committee threatened to halt defense funding over the issue.
The original decision was aimed at “filling in the gap” in the budget created by the extra reserve days needed for Operation Pillar of Defense last year.
“The gap this year stemmed from the wide call-up for Operation Pillar of Defense, and therefore we had to allocate extra funds in order not to hurt reserve soldiers,” Ya’alon stated.
In response to Ya’alon’s initial announcement, Economy and Trade Minister Naftali Bennett called on the Knesset Finance Committee to freeze the transfer of all funds to the Defense Ministry until reservist funding was restored.
“Rather than kissing [IDF reservists’] feet, they are playing around with their grants,” Bennett was quoted as saying of the decision. “By any means necessary they will receive every cent. It is unacceptable that because they were called up during Operation Pillar of Defense they will receive less,” he said during meetings with Finance Ministry officials.