Full Text Israel Political Brief August 15, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Start of the Cabinet Meeting on the Defense Budget



PM Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Start of the Cabinet Meeting on the Defense Budget

Source: PMO, 8-15-12

Following are Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s remarks at the start of the Cabinet meeting today on the defense budget:

“Today, we are starting a discussion the likes of which, until today, have not been held in a forum of Israeli Government ministers, certainly not in the overall forum of the Cabinet plenum. At the end of this discussion, we will be asked to decide not only on how much money to invest in defense but where to invest the money within the defense establishment.

This is discussion concerns not only priorities between the defense budget and other ministries represented here.

This is a discussion about the priorities within the defense budget, not down to the last penny, not within each individual section, but about the main questions regarding building the force related to the multi-year plan, for the next five years, perhaps the next decade.

We will make complicated decisions about the size of the budget and the channeling of the budget to the main components of the force. This is a complex and serious discussion. I doubt that we will finish it today but we must finish it in order to move forward on the 2013 budget, to chart a path to the 2013 defense budget, to chart a path to the defense budget for the next five years, with consequences for the next decade. Therefore, we must also respond to the historic changes that are taking place around us.

We must be ready for the changing threats that are being directed at the State of Israel. We must see to it that the security which Israelis have enjoyed over past three-and-a-half years continues under the changing conditions. Around the Cabinet table, we will listen to the professional elements and we will decide according to the defense concept that fits these changes.

This is a unique discussion. It usually takes place once every five years in a smaller forum and it may be that at a certain stage we will decide to reduce this forum, but I would like all ministers, to the best of our abilities, be party to the decisions that I think will greatly determine the Government’s budget for the State of Israel. This is a necessary condition to pass the 2013 state budget. This is, first of all, because it is necessary to finish with the defense budget; it is always like this. This is a necessary condition for wise decisions regarding the defense budget and the multi-year plan. There is a second condition without which we cannot submit the budget and that is to maintain economic responsibility.

We have gone through a decade of scrupulously maintaining the budgetary framework and our ability to do so has guarded the Israeli economy from the global crisis, until now with exemplary success. This is also how we acted over the past three years and we intend to act this way now as well.”

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