Mofaz: ”The Trachtenberg report was buried, and with it, social justice reforms.” Among some of the sources for additional funds — reserves from socially-related government ministries: 69 million from the Ministry of Social Affairs, 10 million from the Ministry of Absorption, 63 million from the discharged-soldiers law (fund), 113 million from National Insurance.
The Joint Committee for the Defense Budget approved an additional 1.67 billion shekel for the security budget. Most of the sources for the additional funds stem from various government ministries` budget reserves which were not utilized in the past year. Several of these were social ministries. Speaking against the additional funding were Members of the Knesset Shaul Mofaz and Meir Shitrit from Kadima. All the Knesset Members belonging to the coalition supported the proposal. The resolution was passed after the government approved the supplement this morning. Six ministers were against it.
The committee chairman, MK Shaul Mofaz (Kadima) said at the beginning of the meeting, ”This is the first time the committee has been requested to approve such an exceptional amount a moment before the year`s end, as well as approve budgetary commitments which were already carried out. This is an improper procedure, and therefore I requested from the Prime Minister that the government approve the matter, and only afterwards the committee. Why aren`t the reserves used to treat the social problems that the protesters raised last summer? The government must find the correct balance between social and security needs. It is fitting that citizens know what the sources are for the extra security budget.” Mofaz added, ”In practice the government favors the security budget at the expense of social resilience in Israel. These funds can help citizens as much as they can the security budget. This decision absolutely buries the Trachtenberg report and with it, social justice reforms. The prime minister conducted himself in an outrageous manner that was far from understandable. It`s throwing sand in the eyes of the public. Today we could have voted on a supplement of over 2 billion shekel since there was no clear limit on receiving the reserves. This coalition has no heart or compassion.”
MK Meir Shitrit (Kadima) claimed, ”It`s a pity to waste the committee`s time on explanations about the sources and use of the money, when the committee has no real possibility of affecting the decision itself.”
MK Yitzhak Vaknin (Shas) pointed out that every year some government ministries do not completely utilize their reserves and the treasury transfers the reserves to other ministries; the process is not new.
MK Uri Ariel (National Union) said that ”there is an impression that the prime minister is acting in a way which borders on fraud and irresponsibility.”
MK Einat Wilf (Haatzma`ut) said all government ministries act responsibly, under the treasury restrictions, and therefore do not utilize all of their reserves. This, in contrast with the Ministry of Defense which allows itself to take risks, with the knowledge that in the end it will receive funds to cover commitments it already made.