Protective Edge Cost Becomes Latest Budget Battleground

YERUSHALAYIM (Hamodia Staff) -

The Finance Ministry has challenged the bill presented by the Defense Ministry for Operation Protective Edge, claiming it was about 3 billion shekels less than claimed.

Defense Ministry figures put the cost at NIS 9-10 billion, but on Tuesday the Finance Ministry said that the total cost of the military campaign was only NIS 6.5 billion, Ynet reported.

Accountant General Michal Abadi-Boiangiu charged that the military included expenses unrelated to Operation Protective Edge in its calculations, and exaggerated the cost of restoring operational capacity to its units.

Defense Ministry, for its part, cites documentation of the cost of the fighting on a per diem basis, including how much ammunition was fired every day, how many Iron Dome rockets were deployed, how many flight-hours were flown by fighter jets and helicopters, the fuel costs, the sums spent on the reserve soldiers, and more.

Treasury officials declined to furnish details on how they arrived at such a broad discrepancy between their figures and those of the Defense Ministry.

Meanwhile, treasury officials predict that the Israeli economy will recover in the fourth quarter of the year, which begins in two weeks, adding that Operation Protection Edge’s effect on the economy will be reflected primarily in the third-quarter data.