Lawsuit Demands to Know: How Much Is Defense Ministry Getting?

Tel Aviv skyline, with Defense Ministry headquarters at the center. Photo by Miriam Alster/FLASH90
The Tel Aviv skyline, with the Defense Ministry headquarters at the center. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

By Dov Benovadia

YERUSHALAYIM – With the two-year framework budget approved by the government this week, all that is likely to be missing for the passage of the 2017/18 state budget – is one set of numbers, that of the funds destined for the Defense Ministry. According to reports, the Finance Ministry has promised the Defense Ministry some NIS 60 million in funding – but the exact sum is unknown.

For now, that is – the courts may require the Ministries to reveal just how much money is at stake, after hearing a petition on the matter that was filed Tuesday at Tel Aviv Administrative Court. According to the petitioners, the Finance Ministry has promised the Defense Ministry some NIS 60 million between 2015 and 2020, and the petition, filed by the Hatzlacha movement, seeks to find out exactly how much is at stake.

The agreement goes beyond funding. According to the group, the Defense Ministry promised the government that it would undergo numerous reforms as part of the deal to get the money. Certain reforms require Knesset legislation, some of which is pending now, and the rest of which will be legislated later this year.

Hatzlacha has been demanding to know the details of the agreement, but both Ministries have refused because of security considerations. In the petition, the group states that the law does not recognize security considerations as a reason not to disclose how much money is being spent on a project. According to the petition, any agreement that is to be extant for five years “is one that requires intense study by the public.”