IDF to receive NIS 2 billion for protection against rockets

Funds reportedly passed on Sunday following meeting of defense and finance officials.

Iron Dome missile test (photo credit: DEFENSE MINISTRY)
Iron Dome missile test
(photo credit: DEFENSE MINISTRY)
Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon and IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi have agreed that the IDF will receive an additional NIS 2 billion to kick-start the military’s “Momentum” multiyear defense plan.
The amount was reportedly agreed upon Sunday after Kahlon, Kochavi, Defense Minister Naftali Bennett and Deputy Chief of Staff Maj.-Gen. Eyal Zamir met with Accountant-General Roni Hezekiah.
The multiyear plan, which is built on the IDF’s new victory concept, uses the motto “readiness and change” and focuses on improving the military’s defensive and offensive capabilities.
As part of the plan, the military will invest significant amounts to close gaps in several key areas, including weapons, manpower and increasing the Intelligence Directorate’s ability to detect enemy forces in urban areas. It will also focus on improving offensive capabilities of all corps against decentralized enemy troops, which requires more offensive platforms and weapons.
As such, the military will procure a significant amount of precision-guided missiles and midsized drones, as well as additional air-defense batteries.
The funds will be used to push military projects forward, including advanced missile protection and other air-defense technologies, Army Radio reported.
The past year had the most serious peak of violence between Israel and its enemies in the Gaza Strip and along the northern border since end of Operation Protective Edge in 2014. In 2019, 1,295 rockets were fired, most of them (93%) during the 12 violent rounds of confrontation between Israel and terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip. Seven Israeli civilians were killed by rocket fire and a Kornet anti-tank missile, the highest number of civilian casualties since Operation Protective Edge.
Dozens of other projectiles were fired toward Israel from Syria and Lebanon.
The funding passed on Sunday is half the amount that a senior official in the defense establishment said would be necessary to help start certain projects.
According to another senior officer, any project that costs more than NIS 500 million must be taken in agreement with the government. Further, due to Israel’s unrivaled political turmoil, even decisions in which funding is a nonissue still cannot be approved by cabinet even with the additional NIS 2b.
Nevertheless, the senior officer said, Kochavi will push through the plans, and dozens of other decisions will be decided upon by mid-February.
“We put the tracks down for the train, and we know the direction of the multiyear plan,” he said, adding that while new aircraft might have to wait until after the election, dozens of other decisions have been made and carried out.