IDF tank near Gaza during Operation Protective Edge
IDF tank near Gaza during Operation Protective EdgeFlash 90

The State is "deeply concerned" over the Defense budget, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee MK Ze'ev Elkin (Likud) said Tuesday. 

In a joint session with Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon for a periodic review of the Defense establishment, as well as on the Defense budget, Elkin noted that a review of Operation Protective Edge in Gaza may be stalled due to elections - as well as budgetary decisions. 

"The State of Israel faces many security challenges at this stage on the agenda," Elkin said. "The Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee is doing a very intense review of Operation Protective Edge, but at the present stage, due to the upcoming elections, unfortunately, the process will be slowed."

"If not, it is important that whoever comes after us will complete it, and so that we have most important lessons from the Operation," he added. 

The Committee Chairman also said that Ya'alon is concerned over the budget.

"I am pleased that yesterday the Finance Committee managed to approve the budget transfers to the security system," Elkin began, referring to a general budget transfer that had been on hold for months due to objections from Finance Minister Yair Lapid.

"I hope we complete the approval process soon via the Joint Committee for the Defense Budget. It is important to remember that [. . .] the security system needs at least another billion [shekels] this year to return to the status quo from before Operation Protective Edge."

"In addition, we are very concerned about the issue of the security system's budget for next year."

"The Committee has always known to put politics aside, and I hope that this will continue even during the elections," he concluded. "The security challenges do not take an elections break and therefore the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense  Committee has not fully begun its summer recess."

Earlier, Ya'alon noted that attempts to escalate the security situation in Jerusalem and Judea-Samaria come from Hamas in Gaza and Turkey, and that as such, security issues must be dealt with even during the course of the scramble before elections. 

"There is major pressure from the outside, especially from Muslim organizations with an emphasis on Hamas, to heat up the situation in the West Bank," said Ya'alon. "We continue to work there to thwart terrorist attacks and terrorist networks, which are mainly operated from the outside, whether from the Gaza Strip and or from Turkey.

"Our enemies do not stop challenging us," he added. "The defense establishment did not go into recess and continues to operate at full power to bring peace and security to the citizens of Israel."