Finance Ministry Officials Voice Dissent on Defense Budget

YERUSHALAYIM -

An agreement between the Finance and Defense ministries that had been hailed as a landmark in ending years of squabbling over the military budget came under a cloud on Tuesday as senior Finance officials expressed serious reservations and said they might not sign it in its present form.

Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon said that, the strong dissent notwithstanding, signing would go ahead as scheduled. The agreement provides for a multi-year budget for the IDF based on a streamlining of expenses.

Finance Ministry director general Shai Babad, budget director Amir Levy and Noah Hacker, his deputy, who handled the negotiations, said they might not affix their signatures, citing faults in the agreement due to lack of consultation beforehand with the ministry’s experts.

A source in the Ministry of Finance told Globes: “It’s all make believe. The agreement was signed without any professional base and without calculations. The department’s people have no answers for anything, including the professional failures. At best, this is an agreement done by an amateur.”

During the day, it was agreed that a note would be attached to the agreement stipulating that the figures on which it was based would be checked by the accountant general. But there was doubt whether such a note was legally feasible.