Iran top priority in Israel’s Defense Ministry budget – Gantz

Israel requires a new military budget to prepare for the possibility of Iran coming closer to a nuclear capability, Defense Minister Benny Gantz said at the start of Tuesday’s meeting of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.

Gantz and IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi came to the committee to urge the MKs to approve the allocations to the Defense Ministry in the state budget that must be completely passed into law by November 14 to prevent the government from falling. 

“In implementing the budget, there is a clear priority on the operational level of handling the main potential existential threat to Israel: the Iranian nuclear program,” Gantz told the MKs. “We see that Iran is advancing its enrichment that could enable it to become a nuclear threshold state if they make that decision. We are doing everything possible to prevent that. We will invest in our offensive and defensive abilities, improve our technological superiority and expedite our efforts to ensure that even though Iran is a global and regional threat, Israel will always be able to defend its citizens by itself.”

Gantz said it was important for Israel to be militarily self-sufficient on all fronts, singling out the North and South. He said Israel needed to be prepared to fight on two fronts simultaneously and ready to deter Hamas and Hezbollah. 

The Defense Ministry is also taking steps to ensure that the Home Front will be ready for any threat, including earthquakes, Gantz told the MKs.

 Benny Gantz speaks about Iran at the World Summit on Counter-Terrorism (credit: ANNA AHRONHEIM) Benny Gantz speaks about Iran at the World Summit on Counter-Terrorism (credit: ANNA AHRONHEIM)

He lamented that only half of 18-year-olds get drafted immediately to the IDF. He said he would present the MKs with reform plans to remedy the problem. 

Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Ram Ben-Barak said that security-wise, Israel is enjoying one of the quietest times in the country’s history. But he warned that it could change quickly, due to threats ranging from knives to nuclear (which rhyme in Hebrew).

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