Feeding Israel’s Military Maw: Defense Ministry Demands $15-Billion for 2013 Budget
Tomorrow, the Israeli cabinet will discuss the Defense Ministry’s 2013 budget request (Hebrew). There’s a major dispute with the Treasury about how to calculate what the allocation should be, with a difference between the two ministries of $3-billion. The meeting will determine who wins the argument. For its part, the army will point to the Iranian threat and other developments related to the Arab Spring. Some might describe this as a precursor to an attack on Iran, for which the military will surely need an augmented budget. As for the threats posed by the Arab Spring, this means the thousands of “infiltrators” the IDF has to scare off or kill so that they can’t overwhelm the Jewish State when they mass along its borders seeking a Return to their former homes. This, at least, is the image the scaremongers seek to portray for the average Israeli or cabinet minister.
The dispute involves this: Treasury is proposing about $12-billion, while Defense is proposing $15-billion. According to Haaretz, Netanyahu is expected to accept the position of the Defense Ministry, which will in turn diminish the amount available for funding initiatives demanded by the J14 social justice movement. In other words, as always in Israel, national security trumps human needs.
The greed of the Defense Ministry is enormous. They were given a special one time allocation in 2012 of $1.5-billion. They wish to fold this into their regularly recurring annual budget in order to determine what next year’s budget should be. The Treasury Ministry is fighting this money grab.
As part of its dog and pony show to the cabinet, the various military branches will paint a vivid picture of the Arab Bogeymen threatening Israel from all sides. They’ll also serve up the tantalizing new cyber-warfare capability of Unit 8200 and its demands for ever more funding to sabotage Iran’s alleged nuclear threat. At the end, the ministers will have to decide whether they want all those military bells and whistles or a scaled down version. You and I both know in the choice between bright and shiny and shabby and worn, what these ministers will choose. Can you imagine one standing up to a general and saying: “But general, you don’t need that weapon.” Nah, never happen.
For their part, the Treasury officials at the meeting will warn ministers that every shekel they add to defense must be taken away from another ministry. No minister likes to see his budget shrink. It will be interesting to see how this goes. But my bet is on defense to win.
Returning to the budgetary implications of war against Iran, a leading finance expert on the budget noted that the 2006 war on Lebanon cost over $4-billion and was much more limited in scope than a war against Iran would be. If the economy shrunk by half over the course of a month that cost would be more than $10-billion.
A few other items to consider in the event of war:
“Economists called the decade after the Yom Kippur War ‘the lost decade.’ There was a decline in the standard of living. Enormous amounts were diverted into restoring the military establishment, at the expense of civilian budgets,” Ariav said, adding that a war would hurt Israel’s credit rating, tourism and foreign trade.
It should be mentioned also that the $12-15 billion figure mentioned above doesn’t cover any of the intelligence agencies (Mossad, Shin Bet) whose budgets are carefully guarded secrets.
7 thoughts on “Feeding Israel’s Military Maw: Defense Ministry Demands $15-Billion for 2013 Budget – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم”
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Si vis pacem, para bellum
The Apartheid regime, under Vorster, did indeed prepare for war, civil and regional.
But under Botha they began to realize that the level of mobilization their war plans required, would shut the economy down completely, and there wasn’t any way of ending a civil war rapidly without shooting, or nuking, the workforce.
Israel faces similar problems without the vast reserve of territory and natural resources which Botha had at his disposal.
It faces a similar problem in that a large part of the workforce might be considered “the enemy” in times of active hostilities.
If you purchase equipment for too many soldiers, the temptation is to mobilize enough people to put it all into action, and then you don’t have an economy left to support the war effort with. It’s a balancing act and Israel is ruled by people who don’t seem to recognize the concept.
Previous Israeli governments have sought allies rather than to multiply their enemies, the current one went and committed a high profile murder on the soil of one of its wealthiest potential allies, at least as far as Iran was concerned.
Israel simply isn’t big enough to wield the military power its leaders aspire to. Hence the manipulation of the United States, but even America isn’t big enough to confront the entire world in the way that Israel wants it to.
The only thing they will accomplish is to accelerate the decline of America, either into collapse, or into a decidedly non-democratic and highly militarized entity, constantly at odds with the other great powers and therefore living on borrowed time as well as borrowed money.
Anyone thinking that American democracy is sacred, or even safe, should take note of the speed with which Greek and Italian democracy was simply switched off in favour of German-appointed technocrats the moment the bankers deemed it convenient.
American elections already consist of a choice of two dismal alternatives.
Ah peace through war. So you’re a Reganite too. Good to know. Jabotinsky too would be proud of you.
I’ll take that as a compliment.
forgive me if I’ve missed something or just plain ‘dont get it’
as a Brit living temporarily in an exceedingly hostile arab country where acidic attacks on Israel are the daily fodder of the local press and where one’s work colleagues often discuss the fact that ‘every terrorist who ever lived is an Israeli’ I cannot for the life of me understand why you think this vitriolic loathing of you can be assuaged by doing-down your own free democratic liberated enfranchised nation-state
I am utterly baffled and bewildered by the faux-naif photo’s of people jumping around a Gazan field as if its a country village cricket green ….. do you not get it that there is 300 million arab springsters out there who’s world view is that you are the spawn of satan and they have every intention of sweeping you lot off the edge
I live with this every day …. get a sense of reality please, there’s lots of us who think the world of Israel but you’ve got to give us a hand in letting the world know you havent got a death wish and arent going to bend over and ask for more ….. never again !!!!!
You’ve not just missed “something,” you’ve missed everything. As for “not getting it,” you said it (and now I did).
As an Islamophobic racist, why in God’s name would you want to live in a “hostile Arab country??”
BTW, do you know the slogan “Never Again” derives from Meir Kahane, which makes you a Kahanist. You wouldn’t mind informing your Arab colleagues that you’re a Kahanist, would you?
“Never Again” is in pretty common usage when referencing the horrors of the Holocaust. I don’t think it’s fair to label someone a Kahanist simply for using that phrase.
As to the origin, historian Raul Hilberg has stated that the phrase originated in the concentration camps themselves, specifically Buchenwald, where he says the inmates put up signs reading “never again” towards the end of the war. Years later, of course, Kahane and the JDL took the phrase and used it as their motto.
Irrespective of Kahane’s use of the phrase as a slogan for his loathsome organization, “never again” has meaning and resonance that is entirely separate. People ought to (and do) feel free to use the slogan without fear of being linked to Kahane, in my humble opinion.
Currently, at the Dachau concentration camp memorial, for instance, the phrase “never again” is written in five languages at the International Monument.
And on the most recent Holocaust Remembrance Day, President Obama said: “We must resolve that ‘never again’ is more than an empty slogan.” Obama could hardly be called a Kahanist.