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Israel must lay off 15,000 state employees, minister says

Finance Minister Yitzhak Modai told the Israeli Cabinet Sunday that 15,000 state employees will have to be dismissed if the government's battle against 800 percent inflation is to succeed, a government spokesman said. Mr. Modai gave his Cabinet colleagues a bleak option: either cut staff or severely prune all services.

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He said the Cabinet decided in principle to slash a further $550 million from its budget over the next year, mostly in defense spending.