ZAGREB, March 29, 2018 – The Matica Hrvatskih Sindikata union federation on Thursday commented on the procurement of 12 used Israeli F-16 fighter jets, saying that “with the purchase of questionable aircraft and the augmentation of war veterans’ rights, the existing unsustainable social, economic and political depression is just being deepened even more.”
A press release signed by union leader, Vilim Ribić, recalls a statement by Israel’s ambassador to Croatia that the strength of the State of Israel isn’t in its F-16 jets but in a strong economy, education and technology as well as the confidence of citizens in the State of Israel.
If those three areas are vital for Israel’s strength, then their neglect in Croatia represents a threat to national interests with or without the F-16 jets. A poor country cannot invest in its people, jets and abundant veterans’ rights and the incumbent government has decided not to invest in people, Ribić added. Are the real national priority jets or raising the living standard for citizens so that we can create a decent economic growth and buffer or stop emigration? There isn’t enough money for both, Ribić warned.
“Isn’t the most important national interest restoring citizens’ trust in their own state, which is seriously eroded and has turned into hopelessness after years of economic depression, repressive austerity measures, corruption and nepotism, of replacing qualified personnel with those who are politically suitable, of the non-functioning of institutions, of the dissolution of the welfare state in areas like healthcare and pension insurance, of unemployment, blocked accounts and the fear of a large number of people for their livelihoods?”
Following the government’s decision, we will be happy because we will have jets but will we still have people, Ribić questioned, adding that military and veteran lobby groups obviously got what they wanted because this is their policy and not of the majority of citizens.