There's no lack of sacred cows in Israel's pastures, but the plumpest and oldest can be found in the defense establishment, or more precisely, in the defense establishment's budget. Whenever Israel is caught in an economic crisis or a recession, this everlasting, painful topic comes up time after time: "The defense budget must be cut." Seeing eye to eye, they all check the figures, click their tongues, and sometimes introduce the cuts. But a few months later, the budget book reveals that not only has the defense budget not been compromised, but quite the contrary: It has continued to swell.
That's quite understandable. Everywhere around the world, the defense budget is something that can be cut, and with real insistence it can be abolished altogether. Take France, for example. Suppose French President François Hollande decides to abolish the defense budget and take the military apart? Yes, precisely that. What will happen to France? Nothing. Will the British or German militaries invade that country to pillage and plunder its treasure troves of delectable camembert cheese? Obviously not. In most countries around the world, security is a luxury of sorts.