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Peres: Cut IDF Budget When Israel's Enemies 'Cut'

President Shimon Peres said that he would agree to a cut in the military budget – if there was a “cut” in Israel's enemies
By David Lev
First Publish: 3/24/2013, 6:31 PM

Peres at the IDF Beit El base
Peres at the IDF Beit El base
Uzi Baruch

At a pre-Passover celebration, President Shimon Peres said that he would agree to a cut in the military budget – if there was a “cut” in Israel's enemies.

Peres was speaking at a celebration at the central IDF base for the Binyamin region, in Beit El. Peres discussed a number of issues, including the tasks of the IDF in the region. Peres said that the less Israelis intervened in the affairs of the Palestinian Authority, the better off they would be. The PA had its own security forces to deal with its issues, and the IDF's job was to defend Israelis. The army, he said, should make that its top priority, while giving PA security forces the freedom to do what they needed regarding internal PA affairs.

Peres also discussed the possibility that the defense budget would have to be cut. Earlier Sunday, Finance Minister Yair Lapid said that the previous Treasury heads had left the office – and the state budget – in disarray, and that major cuts at all levels of government would be needed.

But Israel couldn't afford a cut in the defense budget, said Peres – at lease not as long as Israel's enemies were operating at full strength. “I will support a cut in the defense budget, but only when there is a cut to the threats and the number of enemies of the state,” Peres quipped.