Israel consistently spends 17% extra on defense and 8% less elsewhere, study finds

Van Leer Institute study examines differences in approved budgets and budget implementations for every year between 2000 and 2014.

October 20, 2015 19:30
1 minute read.
idf lebanon border

IDF soldiers near the Israel-Lebanon border. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Over the past 15 years, the government has spent an average of 17 percent more than it budgeted each year on defense, while spending 8% less than planned on all other ministries combined, according to a Van Leer Institute study released Tuesday.

The study, which examined the differences in approved budgets and budget implementations for every year between 2000 and 2014, found that Israel spends roughly 2% less than planned each year, but the distribution of funds ends up being far out of whack.

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Civilian ministries, such as health, welfare and education, get a combined NIS 2 billion less than they are allotted each year. All in all, non-defense ministries lose out on NIS 5b. on average each year relative to approved budgets (in 2014 prices).

The defense budget, on the other hand, get an additional NIS 8b. each year on average (in 2014 prices).

Unsurprisingly, the defense overspending was particularly high on years where wars broke out, such as the second intifada (2001-2002), the Second Lebanon War (2006) and Operation Protective Edge (2014).

“Given that there is competition between allocating resources for civilian and defense spending, it is alarming that the rate of deviation for the defense budget from the amount stipulated in the state budget has been rising, and for the last five years is above the average deviation rate of 17%,” said Prof. Michel Strawczynski, who headed the study.

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