The most recent battle over the defense budget may have ended in a compromise, but it seems that the war is not yet over, and the greatest conflict is still ahead. A public committee will soon be appointed to scrutinize how much of the budget is invested in salaries, pensions and rehabilitation, the Diplomatic-Security Cabinet decided this weekend following budget talks.
In addition, the committee will examine the size of the defense budget against other state priorities such as education, health, welfare, infrastructure, etc. Among other things, the committee will address the fact that the defense budget is comprised in large part of regular payments, which reduces the state's ability to make cuts within the framework of regular budget meetings.
The main objective of this committee is to update the recommendations made by the Brodet Committee, which was appointed to streamline the defense budget following the 2006 Second Lebanon War.
The Prime Minister's Office, the Defense Ministry and the Finance Ministry all said Saturday that the members of the committee have not yet been selected, but stressed that their identities, and the scope of the committee's authority, will be finalized in the coming weeks.
Meanwhile, Economy and Trade Minister Naftali Bennett (Habayit Hayehudi) welcomed the "serious debate over the budget." In a video he recorded and posted online, Bennett remarked on "descriptions of arm twisting -- this guy won, that guy won. The truth is that we all won. This debate was extremely important, and will bring welcome change."