Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has moved to slash government expenditures by 2 percent to offset the $2.5 billion cost of his administration’s 50 day military campaign against Hamas in Gaza. Much of the money will come out of the nation’s education budget.
The Guardian reports:
With only the Israeli military and domestic intelligence agency Shin Bet exempt from the sharp spending reductions, the area to be hit hardest emerged as the Israeli education system, with critics – including members of Netanyahu’s cabinet – predicting that the poorest Israelis will feel the brunt of the cuts.
Among those protesting was the welfare minister, Meir Cohen, who insisted there was no more fat in his budget to trim.
“From whom will we take? From those who have nothing to put in their children’s sandwiches for school?” he complained on Israeli army radio.
Amid estimates by some economic observers that the war may have cost Israel a decline of 0.5% in its growth in GDP, Netanyahu defended the stringent across-the-board cuts before a cabinet meeting in the country’s south on Sunday, insisting: “Security comes first.”
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—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly
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