IDF patrol in Golan Heights
IDF patrol in Golan Heights Reuters

The defense budget for 2014 was approved on Tuesday night by a joint committee of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee and the Knesset’s Finance Committee.

The budget includes an increase of 750 million shekels to improve the IDF’s procurement and preparedness.

Last October, the Ministerial Committee for National Security Matters decided unanimously to transfer 2.75 billion shekels from the budget surplus to the defense establishment budget.

The decision was taken after the defense establishment asked for an increase in its budget after it carried out a series of streamlining steps.

There have been calls, especially by Finance Minister Yair Lapid, to slash the defense budget and use the money that would be saved to improve social services.

Last May, a cut in the defense budget that was agreed upon but it has since increased following a demand to do so by Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz.

Ya'alon welcomed the approval of the budget on Tuesday night, saying, “We are in a difficult budgetary year and part of our activity is carried out as a result of budgetary constraints. Israel cannot afford a mediocre army.”