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Up defense budget to NIS 66 billion, says Defense Ministry panel (ISRAEL HAYOM) Zeev Klein, Lilach Shoval and Hezi Sternlicht 08/20/12) Source: http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=5464
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Defense Minister Ehud Barak praises findings of Tishler committee, which he appointed • Finance Ministry says findings were ´premeditated´ and maintains defense budget should be cut to 50.5 billion shekels.
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The defense budget should be increased to 66 billion shekels in 2013, according to the findings of the Tishler committee, appointed by Defense Minister Ehud Barak to examine the issue. The findings, presented Sunday, are part of an on-going battle between the Defense Ministry and the Finance Ministry, which wants the defense budget cut to 50.5 billion shekels.
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At a press conference on Sunday, the Tishler committee said that the multiyear budget guidelines set by the Brodet commission following the Second Lebanon War should be adhered to, while taking into account regional changes. Additional funds are needed for relocating the Beit El settlement neighborhood of Ulpana, constructing a security fence near Eilat, and reinforcing the country´s defense industries.
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In addition, the committee recommended that the army´s retirement age should be lowered to 45, or even 40. The current Israel Defense Forces retirement age is 46 and was set to rise to 50. The committee also recommended granting retirement grants linked to the average wage in the economy, rather than the current bridging pensions.
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Barak praised the work of the Tishler committee and ordered IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz and Defense Minister Director-General Maj. Gen. (res.) Udi Shani to study the committee´s findings and examine ways to implement them.
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The Finance Ministry, however, was quick to reject the demand for additional funds for the defense budget and said that the findings should not be taken seriously because the committee was set up by the Defense Ministry and that the findings were predetermined.
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"It is strange the defense establishment created a ´secret committee´ for the budget without representatives from the Finance Ministry or the Prime Minister´s Office," Finance Ministry officials said.
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Officials from the Defense Ministry rejected the claims of those at the Finance Ministry.
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"We regret that the Finance Ministry cannot deal with the content of the report, which was compiled by leading professionals. The claim of lack of participation by Finance Ministry officials in committee discussions is unfounded."
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At a meeting on Wednesday on the national budget, the Defense Ministry presented the savings it had made as part of an efficiency drive, but Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz maintained that the budget must be slashed.
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