(photo credit: AP [file])
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Monday decided to allocate an additional NIS 2.4 billion for the rehabilitation of the army following Operation Cast Lead.
The amount was NIS 1b. more than initially agreed by the Treasury, which also requested that those funds be taken from other areas of the defense budget. However, following discussions on the subject Sunday, Olmert ordered the Treasury to find additional sources for the extra funding.
The Defense Ministry stressed that the additional budget would be used for reequipping the army.
The source of the extra defense funding will only be decided upon after Tuesday's elections, and will be determined by the next government.
"Covering the army's costs for Operation Cast Lead is being discussed in the appropriate forums, between the Finance and Defense Ministries," the Prime Minister's Office said. "The details of the discussions should remain undisclosed."
Following the IDF operation in Gaza, the army said that expenses for reservist mobilization, weapons use and home front activities came to NIS 4b. Senior Defense Ministry officials also said that various unexpected costs were incurred during the operation.
However, the Finance Ministry claimed that the IDF required far less, saying that although the Defense Ministry had submitted a serious and detailed request to cover its costs, in light of the economic crisis, the Treasury had a limited ability to meet the demands.
The defense establishment has already put NIS 800 million towards the operation.
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