‘Majority of Israelis want budget cuts’

Israelis take part in a demonstration calling for social justice and against the cost of living in Tel Aviv on August 4, 2012.

A new Israeli survey shows a majority of Israelis favor heavy cuts to settlement funding and the military budget, a report says.

According to a survey from “Voting for a Social Budget,” almost 63.7 percent of Israelis have shown a remarkable disconnection from Tel Aviv’s policies, saying the officials should make heavy cuts to the subsidies for settlement projects in the West Bank and the military spendings, Israeli paper Ha’aretz reported on Monday.

The recent poll triggers speculations that the voters of the upcoming election in the Occupied Palestinian Territories are more concerned about domestic issues rather than the occupation and oversea wars.

Despite earlier promises to allocate more finance to social reforms following months-long protests in the occupied territories last year, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that he will add three billion shekels (nearly USD 700 million) to the military budget.

This is while a recent report said that Israel’s budget deficit soared to its highest level in three years.

On Sunday, Israel’s Finance Ministry said the 2012 budget deficit came in at NIS (new Israeli shekel) 39 billion (over USD 10 billion), which corresponded with 4.2 percent of gross domestic product.

Israel’s 2012 budget deficit was the highest since 2009 when Israel was wrestling with a recession triggered by the global financial meltdown and overspending stood at 5.1 percent. However, the deficit dropped to 3.8 percent in 2010 and 3.3 percent in 2011.

In July 2011, Israeli demonstrators took to the streets across Israel to protest against the high costs of food, housing, education, and healthcare as well as huge income gaps and social inequalities.

AO/HN