Israeli Prime Minister and Defense Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is attempting to get Israel’s Defense Forces an increased budget, to defend from alleged Iranian aggression.
Funds would specifically be aimed at improving the country’s air defense system and particularly to counter cruise missiles.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is also Defense Minister is pushing for a $290 million project that would defending the country against cruise missile attacks, similar to strikes on Saudi oil facilities on September 14th that were blamed on Iran.
These efforts come amid a fully-fledged campaign to fuel anti-Iranian hysteria in Israeli media.
According to Channel 12, officials believe Iran may have publicized information about an allegedly foiled “Israel-Arab” plot to assassinate General Qassem Soleimani, the head of the elite Quds Force in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, as a pretense to attack Israel.
Netanyahu, during a speech on October 3rd at the swearing-in of the new Knesset (Israeli parliament), also called for a “broad national unity government,” saying the country’s security challenges demanded political stability.
“This isn’t spin, it’s not a whim, this is not ‘Netanyahu trying to scare us,’” he said. “Anyone who knows the situation knows that Iran is getting stronger and is attacking around the world, saying clearly, ‘Israel will disappear.’ They believe it, they are working toward it, we need to take them seriously.”
This need for funding is reinforced in a recent interview, given by Major General (res.) Yaakov Amidror, who is part of military intelligence.
Amidror said the military budget is small to counter current threats and should be increased. According to him, also, new threats to Israel’s security come primarily from Iran. The discussion of these threats intensified sharply after the attack of Saudi Arabia on September 14th. Mainstream media outlets claim that approximately 20 UAVs and about 10 Quds-1 missile launchers were used for the strike. Israel sources fear that such a massive attack could break through the air defense system and could damage important Israeli infrastructure.
On October 6th, the first meeting of the military-political cabinet of the government took place after the general elections in Israel. Yosi Cohen, director of the Mossad’s foreign intelligence service, allegedly presented cabinet members with new information about the strike on Saudi Arabia on September 14th, 19. Messages appeared on social networks, allegedly based on leaks from this meeting. These reports claim that Israel is not ready for such an attack.
Regardless of the presumed threat, Netanyahu’s first proposal for a budget increase was blocked in the Israeli parliament. On top of the $290 million for improving the air defenses, he requested approximately $500 million more of a budget increase. However, the Knesset interim commission approved the allocation of $400 million to book military vehicles and strengthen the protection of military personnel as part of a multi-year procurement plan. Funds will be allocated from the budget of the Ministry of Defense due to reduction of financing of other projects.
Over the course of several years, it is proposed to increase military spending from 5 to 6% of GDP.
In 2019, the budget for defense in Israel was approximately $20 billion, with approximately $8 billion on top due to various additions.
A 1% of the GDP is approximately $5 billion USD, so the budget would grow to around $33 billion USD. This increase is intended for the next five-year development program of the IDF.
Separately, in 2018, the Commissioner for Complaints of Military Personnel Major General (res.) Yitzhak Brik issued a report, which refers to the general unreadiness of the IDF for a full-scale war. According to him, large parts of the armed forces suffer from a lack of effectiveness in the command structure, and a lack of personnel training with new equipment (for example, communication, control and control systems).
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