The Knesset Finance Committee on Monday approved an addition of 3.27 billion shekels ($93.2 million) to the defense budget, after its members were guaranteed that the move would not infringe on the health and welfare budgets.
Additional budgets of NIS 50 million ($14.25 million), NIS 90 million ($25.6 million) and NIS 40 million ($11.4 million) were earmarked under a special auxiliary budget clause, the spending of which will be discussed by the joint subcommittee for the defense budget.
"I was provided with explanations regarding the need for these budgets, which I will share in full with the members of the subcommittee," Finance Committee Chairman Nissan Slomiansky (Habayit Hayehudi) said.
"I have approved this addition after the Finance Ministry has met my demands to present the committee with health and welfare budget increases."
Also on Monday, Knesset House Committee Chairman MK Tzachi Hanegbi (Likud) convened a multi-committee meeting to discuss the 2014 defense budget, discussions he said were long overdue.
In addition to the House Committee, Hanegbi invited the members of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee and the Knesset Finance Committee to participate.
Hanegbi -- who chairs the subcommittee for the defense budget -- said that these discussions should have been held in November, but were delayed because of the ongoing dispute over who would chair the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, which has caused the committee to remain almost completely inactive.
But that impasse was overcome last week when the House Committee decided to change the current regulations over the chairmanship. According to the new rules, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein is allowed to head certain meetings himself, or choose an MK to head certain meetings.
The committee is scheduled to hold its next general meeting on Jan 6. It will be the first meeting convened since Yisrael Beytenu Chairman Avigdor Lieberman stepped down as the panel's chairman six weeks ago, when he was reinstated as foreign minister.