'Economist': Israel biggest defense spender relative to population

Israel was the top defense spender relative to its population in 2008, with the government shelling out more than $2,300 per person, over $300 more than the US, which boasts the second largest ratio, the Economist reported on Monday. According to the report, Israel's total defense expenditure was $16.2 billion for the year. The US is by far the largest defense spender, with expenses running to some $607 billion, 41.5% of the $1.46 trillion spent on defense needs worldwide in 2008. China emerged as a growing military spender, increasing its expenditure by 10% in 2008 to $85 billion to overtake other countries and become the second-largest global spender behind the US. Saudi Arabia and the rich oil states of the Gulf also increased their outlay, with the Saudis spending $38.2 billion, which is sixth in terms of population and ninth overall.