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October 24, 2014 / 30 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘budget’

Report: Netanyahu, Lapid Reach 2015 Budget Deal

Saturday, September 20th, 2014

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Yair Lapid have reportedly resolved their differences over the 2015 state budget.

The target deficit will be raised from 2.5 percent to 3.4 percent and the defense budget will be increased by NIS 6 billion, according to the report by The Marker.

There will be a zero percent VAT (value added tax / sales tax) and no increase in taxes.

Finance Ministry Leaves IDF Empty-Handed

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

Finance Minister Yair Lapid was apparently not satisfied with the IDF decision to cancel military reservist training for the entire year.

A bare few hours after IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz made the announcement, the Finance Ministry also rejected a separate funding request for a cash infusion to the defense establishment.

Moreover, according to a source who spoke with Ynet, the ministry plans to slash more of the military budget for fiscal 2015.

Right down to the bone.

The ministry claims the cuts come in response to a Bank of Israel estimate released Monday urging the government to balance the books by raising taxes to the tune of some NIS 18 billion and trimming the budget in each ministry for fiscal 2015.

Critics say the IDF is using the elimination of reservist training as a weapon against the budget cuts.

Traditionally, the defense establishment has been the one area in which cuts kept to a minimum, if any are made at all. But there are those who believe the IDF should trim the number of career soldiers it maintains and take a second look at restructuring pensions and other benefits.

The chief of staff expressed his concern Tuesday in a statement warning, “This is no trick, and no shtick. I am very concerned. The IDF is in the service of the people, not the other way around. We will make every effort to secure the safety of Israeli citizens no matter the circumstances.”

But the question is how that can be carried out if reservists are untrained – and called upon to suddenly use — any new equipment that arrives on Israeli shores.

Moreover, as Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon pointed out Tuesday, the financial stress on the IDF is “not new – the figures were presented to the Cabinet at the beginning of the year.” The defense budget, he noted, “is not the biggest one” and he too warned that “it is growing smaller.”

Ya’alon said that due to Lapid’s budget cuts, “We will not call up reserves even for operational activity.”

Translation: All military activities will have to be carried out by active forces only – and most are young and relatively inexperienced. A high percentage have never been through a war.

At present, the head of the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority’s paramilitary force has announced he believes it is time to end the security cooperation agreement with Israel. That Fatah-led force is on the verge of merging with Gaza’s Hamas terror organization.

If Lapid succeeds in slashing the IDF budget, what will happen should the new PA unity government decide to challenge Israel’s existence altogether in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem, with aid from Arab nations?

Labor MK Accused of Leaking Classified Info

Tuesday, May 20th, 2014

A Labor party lawmaker has been suspended from membership in subcommittees of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee for leaking classified information.

MK Omer Bar-Lev, who at one time commanded the IDF’s elite Sayeret Matkal unit, was accused of handing a copy of a letter he sent to Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon to one of the media outlets.

In his letter Bar-Lev allegedly claimed to have found a discrepancy between an IDF training budget report filed by a senior IDF officer last February and figures presented recently by Ya’alon describing the army’s fiscal needs.

In a statement to journalists Monday evening, Bar-Lev denied the suspension due to his leaking classified information and instead focused on the discrepancy he said he found among the defense establishment’s budget figures.

“As far as we are concerned, the main issue is that the conflicting reports of senior IDF officers to the Foreign Affairs and Defense committee must be looked into and not a minor offense over some procedure that does breach security,” the statement said.

Committee chairman Ze’ev Elkin (Likud) told Bar-Lev the budget reports would be examined closely, according to the statement. It was Elkin who had informed Bar-Lev of the suspension, which extends throughout the summer session.

Cost of Lapid’s Housing Plan Estimated to Be Bigger than His Ego

Sunday, December 8th, 2013

Finance Minister Yair Lapid, chairman of the Yesh Atid party, has come up with a fantastic plan to solve Israel’s apartment shortage but it has one large problem –  a cost of approximately $14 billion, according to an estimate by Globes business newspaper. That may be par for the course for the former journalist who didn’t even finish high school, let alone specialize in math.

Approval of the plan has not taken into consideration how the government will pay for it. A large cost will be compensating owners of farmland where some of this planned 150,000 apartments are to be built.

“Contractors regret that no one consulted with them in drawing up the plan, assessors call it ‘hallucinatory,’” Globes reported. The land will cost the government approximately $12 billion but will have to be sold for far less  in order to make it a feasible investment for contractors.

The plan also faces heavy opposition from environment groups and the environment ministry.

Even the estimate of $14 billion is low, according to Israel’s Real Estate Appraisers Association chairman Ehud Danus, who said the final cost could be double after taking into considering necessary schools and parks.

The Ministry of Finance responded to the report with a weird admission of that “we’re talking about the preliminary stage, and as we accumulate the land for projects, we’ll budget the activity later on.”

Lapid to Give Peres Extra 3.3 Mil. while Bibi Rebuked for Water Bill

Monday, December 2nd, 2013

Once again, certain Israeli media outlets are attacking Prime Minister Netanyahu, this time for what they claim are exorbitant expenses for maintaining the Prime Minister’s homes where he entertains foreign officials.

According to Ha’aretz, the state spend NIS 2.97 million to maintain the official Jerusalem residence, NIS 312,000 for his Caesarea home, and NIS 4,561 for his Jerusalem home on Gaza street. Ha’aretz made a point to emphasize the Prime Minister’s water bill. Back in February they complained about how much ice cream his household ate.

The Prime Minister pointed out that the water bill was for 3 years, and besides family and official guests, Netanyahu has full time security details living at his residences.

On Monday, Yisrael Hayon published a tiny, easily overlooked article about another public figure who also seems to have an unusually large budget, President Shimon Peres.

The President currently has an astounding NIS 55.2 million shekel annual budget, according to Yisrael Hayom – and that doesn’t include his annual birthday party at Binyanei Hauma.

Some older reports state that Peres’s official budget in 2012 was NIS 62.7 million, up from NIS 42.5 million in 2011.

In that report, NIS 42 million went to maintaining the Presidential residence, including maintenance, security and staff, while another NIS 4.5 million were spent on flights abroad. You would think that Shimon Peres is a Foreign Minister with that amount of flying overseas.

Surprisingly, Finance Minister Lapid’s usually tight-fisted Ministry of Finance doesn’t think that this is enough money.

They’re recommending to the Knesset that an additional NIS 3.3 million be added onto the President’s annual budget to reach an astounding NIS 58.5 million for running President Peres’s household, and for what some have called his “shadow government”.

Over the weekend, a report in Makor Rishon said that Peres won’t be asking for an extension of his Presidential position which ends July 2014. Instead Peres believes he should be appointed as a “Super-Minister for Peace” in the current government.

20% of Hamas Budget for Terror Tunnels

Sunday, October 20th, 2013

An astounding 20% of Hamas’s annual budget goes into building terror tunnels, according to an IDF estimation, which is based on numbers published by Hamas in Gaza.

With an annual budget of $700 million, it’s estimated that $100 million goes directly towards building terror tunnels into Israel and the Sinai, said a report in Makor Rishon.

The IDF estimates there are many more terror tunnels leading into Israel, besides the four that were recently found.

It is unknown how much more of their budget then goes into acquiring and building missiles and explosives.

Hamas’s Finance Minister complained that Hamas has lost $460 million since June, as a result of Egypt blowing up 90% of Hamas’s tunnels in the Sinai.

Hamas says they need their terror tunnels to kidnap Israelis, to help free terrorists captured by Israel who were trying to kill Israelis.

Just imagine if they had instead put that money towards new schools, medical centers, or social programs to improve their country.

Overspending

Thursday, August 1st, 2013

Often one spouse accuses the other of being an over-spender. But what exactly is “overspending”? This definition changes from family to family; for one, going out to eat on a weekly basis may be within their means, while even a periodic coffee may be stretching the resources of another couple. So how does a family determine whether they can afford to eat out?

One cannot “overspend” if there isn’t a budget that defines spending limits. A budget can help reduce friction between spouses who have different spending patterns. If both partners agree to create and abide by a budget, then the one spouse is no longer the “bad cop” that regulates his or her partner’s spending habits.

Spending as an emotional issue

People spend money for a variety of reasons. Some expenses, like groceries and utilities, are a necessity, while others are discretionary. However, even within fixed expenses there is usually room to cut back. Does Shabbat dinner need to be an expensive cut of meat accompanied by costly wine, or will chicken and grape juice suffice?

Examine your fiscal habits. Do you have an idea of how much your monthly expenses are? Where do you spend money? Do you charge or pay in cash? Do you have financial goals that are important to you, and if so, are you actively working to achieve them? How would you feel if your spending habits changed? How would that change affect your spouse/family?

Consider the doctor who tells an overweight patient that unless he lost a considerable amount of weight, he would face serious illness. Chances are, the patient would diet and exercise. So why is there a discrepancy when a financial adviser recommends a fiscal diet and an exercise program of spending within a budget?

Very often, financial issues mask other problems within a relationship. Therefore, creating a budget is not only a good tool to monitor spending, but it can also help improve family harmony.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/goldstein-on-gelt/overspending/2013/08/01/

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