War cabinet minister Benny Gantz says he will fight against using coalition funds for any use not connected to the war, putting him at odds with Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich’s updated budget plan.
“I think that all of the available resources of the State of Israel should be concentrated in this matter [war management], and I am not prepared to use coalition funds for purposes unrelated to this matter, unequivocally,” he says, in response to reporter questions during a Tel Aviv press conference.
“I think that all available resources should be diverted to fighting,” he continues.
Finance Ministry officials have said that a number of routine public functions are covered by coalition funds, which are a discretionary pool of monies traditionally allocated to meet political pledges. Gantz says that Israel should still fund these needs, but they should instead be clearly included within the Treasury-directed budget.
“No political deals of any kind will be made during the war, on any issue or by anyone,” he adds, as Smotrich is said to have protected hundreds of millions of coalition funds previously promised to priorities in the West Bank and to private ultra-Orthodox education.
Gantz adds that he asked Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to invite “treasury heads” to a war cabinet meeting to discuss war needs and “the fallout from them.”