The Israeli government is planning an immediate 2 percent retroactive cut to its 2014 budget to help cover the estimated US $2.5 billion cost of a summer of war.
Under the Aug. 31 Cabinet-approved plan, across-the-board cuts will apply to all ministries except MoD to underwrite unplanned costs of a two-week ground operation in the West Bank that was followed by a 50-day war in Gaza.
“The defense establishment underwent 74 days of high-intensity operations, starting with the operation to return the three youths captured and murdered in Gush Etzion [part of the West Bank] up until the [Aug. 26] ceasefire of Protective Edge,” said Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon.
The Israeli Treasury acknowledged that the current-year budget was not crafted to accommodate a summer of combat.
“As a result of Operation Protective Edge, the Ministry of Defense bore a significant surge in war costs that were unexpected at the time the 2013-2014 budget was built,” the Treasury wrote in its Aug. 31 notice of the Cabinet-approved cuts.
The Treasury reported that in parallel to budget cuts imposed on government ministries, the Cabinet approved a $450 million five-year plan to fortify structures, services and economic growth in hard-hit communities bordering Gaza.
“Fifty days of combat is an expensive matter,” Finance Minister Yair Lapid said. “The Israel Defense Forces [IDF] needs to restock and we will not spare one shekel when it comes to the security of the people of Israel.”