Israel finally has a budget, and so does the IDF - analysis

The military can breathe a sigh of relief and get to work on a number of projects that had been delayed for a significant amount of time.

IDF soldiers are seen taking part in military drills in Israel's North to simulate a war with Hezbollah. (photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)
IDF soldiers are seen taking part in military drills in Israel's North to simulate a war with Hezbollah.
(photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)

After over three years, Israel’s Knesset finally passed a budget, averting the possibility of immediate early elections and allowing the IDF to finally have enough funds to prepare itself for a confrontation with Iran.

The NIS 609 billion ($194 b.) budget for 2021 is the first one Israel has passed since 2018, and Israel’s defense establishment will receive NIS 58 b, an increase of NIS 7 b.

Though the defense budget was approved earlier in the summer, with the passing of the 2021-2022, the IDF can breathe a sigh of relief and get to work on a number of projects that had been delayed for a significant amount of time.

Israel considers Iran’s nuclear program as the number one concern. IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kohavi has publicly said that the military is preparing fresh operational plans for a potential military strike against Tehran.

US President Joe Biden’s administration has said it is still seeking a joint US-Iranian return to compliance with the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. On Wednesday, Iran’s chief negotiator Ali Baqeri Kani said that Tehran had agreed to meet in Vienna to restart negotiations on 29 November.

 MINISTERS ARE certain he is running for political office. IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kohavi at the Rabin memorial this week. (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST) MINISTERS ARE certain he is running for political office. IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kohavi at the Rabin memorial this week. (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

Even so, prior to the passing of the budget, Defense Minister Benny Gantz said Tuesday that it will allow Israel to develop new capabilities, operational plans and technologies to take on “all threats we face.”

Gantz, who was speaking during the laying of the cornerstone for Elbit System’s new technological campus at Ramat Beka in the Negev Desert, said that what is being developed by Israeli defense industries will “assist the IDF in becoming more accurate, powerful and lethal.

“This power is especially necessary during these days when our enemies, under Iranian leadership, are trying to grow stronger and to undermine regional stability,” he said.

With tensions continuing to rise with Iran, Gantz noted that Israel’s defense establishment “is committed to safeguarding a strong, stable, fortified Israel and ensuring that Iran does not develop an existential threat to Israel. We will continue to act with responsibility and to safeguard our independence of action in any place and sector, and secure Israeli citizens."

Kohavi has stressed several times that the military has a window of time to increase the gap between Israel and her enemies without going to war. 

But, without a budget for the past three years, Israel’s military was unable to adequately stock up on munitions, carry out key defensive projects, or even upgrade basic infrastructure at bases around the country.

In order to move central aspects of Kohavi's Momentum multi-year plan forward, the military had to divert funds, carry out internal cuts and make changes in priorities. Changes in force design also saved the military funds and strengthened units with more assets.

According to reports, the budget increase would go toward purchasing various types of manned aircraft, intelligence-gathering drones and unique munitions needed for a possible attack against Iran’s nuclear program, which would target numerous heavily fortified underground sites.

In October, Gantz defended the defense budget increase, saying that the lack of a budget “has to a certain extent damaged our ability to act, and our ability to have efficient communication and build up our forces in a more effective way.”

Israel, he said, “is challenged militarily on many fronts, and therefore there is great importance to approving a defense budget.”