The IDF is preparing to cut men’s compulsory military service by two months, according to a TV report Tuesday. The Finance Ministry is said to want a cut of four months.
The reduction of mandatory service for men, from 32 months to 30, is expected to go into effect in 2020, Hadashot news reported. Men’s s service had for many years been at 36 months, but was cut down to 32 in 2015. Women serve a total of 24 months.
The cuts are part of the five-year Gideon plan, agreed between the Defense and Finance ministries in 2015.
The army was said to balk at Finance Ministry demands that the service be cut down to 28 months, which would reportedly save the treasury some NIS 3 billion ($825 million) a year. These demands come despite Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s announcement last week of a massive increase in military spending.
Construction Minister Yoav Galant, a former military general, said he would oppose the additional cuts, saying they would endanger Israel’s security.
“Shortening compulsory service by an additional two months, following the four months by which it has already been shortened, is equivalent to a reduction of a quarter of the standing army,” Galant told Hadashot. “There is no other army that will protect Israel’s security — I will oppose this with all my might in the cabinet and the government.”
Last week Netanyahu presented the cabinet with his “2030 Security Concept,” which will add hundreds of millions of dollars to military spending, and outlines the expected threats, military manpower needs, and principles for use of force over the next decade.
The full classified version of the document, which has been developed over the past two years, will soon be shared with the Knesset Subcommittee for the Intelligence and Secret Services, the Prime Minister’s Office said, as well as with the IDF General Staff, Shin Bet security service, and Mossad spy agency.
“Due to our small area, the population concentration and the numerous threats around us, Israel will always have security needs that are much greater than any other state of similar size,” Netanyahu said in a Hebrew video statement. “Today the Israeli economy is strong enough to allow for this supplement. In any case the increase will be enacted while maintaining a responsible budgetary framework.”
Netanyahu said the additional security outlays would to go toward strengthening the country’s offensive capabilities, cyber capabilities, upgrading its anti-missile defense systems, protective measures on the home front, and the completion of security barriers.