Officials said the Defense Ministry remained the only government
agency that operates without civilian oversight. They said the ministry,
citing national security, has denied access to government auditors of a
range of accounts.
The determination was part of an increasingly acrimonious debate between
the military and government. The Finance Ministry has sought to slash three
billion shekel [$810 million] from the defense budget in 2012. The defense
budget has been reported at more than 55 billion shekel, or $14.9 billion.
On Sept. 18, representatives from the Finance Ministry and Defense
Ministry conducted a tense session in an effort to resolve the dispute over
the military budget, Middle East Newsline reported. The Finance Ministry asserted that budget cuts would be
meaningless without transparency and accountability by the military.
"The Finance Ministry wants a commitment for complete transparency by
the military, believing this is more important than any budget cut," the
In the end, Netanyahu was said to have approved the Finance Ministry's
recommendation for a three billion shekel defense budget cut. The decision,
reported by the Israeli media on Sept. 21, was not announced by the
In 2010, the Finance Ministry sought to audit salaries of military
officers. But officials said the audit was suspended when the military
objected to questions on whether taxes were paid for its fleet of