Israel spent some NIS 40 million on expenses to deal with Gaza riots

Thousands of Gazans protest along the security fence on a weekly basis, taking part in "Great March of Return" demonstrations, which began on March 30th.

An IDF tank rolls along the Israeli border with the Gaza Strip on November 13 2018 (photo credit: MENAHEM KAHANA / AFP)
An IDF tank rolls along the Israeli border with the Gaza Strip on November 13 2018
(photo credit: MENAHEM KAHANA / AFP)
Israel’s Defense Ministry spent an extra NIS 40 million ($10.9 m.) for expenses related to the weekly violent riots along the Gaza border fence, the ministry announced.
The NIS 40 million was an extra fund, separate from the IDF’s annual budget, and was spent on riot control weapons and drones, the ministry said, adding that the funds do not include compensation to farmers and residents in the Gaza vicinity.
Thousands of Gazans protest along the security fence on a weekly basis taking part in Great March of Return demonstrations, which began on March 30th, calling for an end of the 12-year-long Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip.
During the violent weekly protests, Gazans have been burning tires and hurling stones as well as grenades and other explosive devices towards IDF troops. Gazans have also launched countless aerial incendiary devices into southern Israel, devastating thousands of acres of land.
In addition, the figures released by the ministry show that it spent a total of NIS 45 billion ($12.23 b.) on Israeli-made weapons systems, of that a total of NIS 11.6 b. ($3.15 b.) was spent on purchases from state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries.
According to the ministry, the majority of purchases in 2018, about NIS 4.32 billion, were for the ground forces. Another NIS 1.1 b. was spent on purchases for the air force and navy.
“The past year was significant in terms of equipping and arming the IDF, specifically in strengthening the ground forces, which accounted for 40% of the activities of the Purchasing Department,” said Aviv Dadon, director of the department, adding that the ministry will focus on purchasing platforms for the air force, navy and ground forces over the next few years.
The announcement of the contract came shortly after Defense Ministry Ombudsman Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yitzhak Brick, who has claimed that the IDF is not ready for war, retired after 10 years.
His scathing June report to the Security Cabinet and Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee charged that the current situation in the IDF was “worse than it was at the time of the Yom Kippur War” in 1973. Brick has also criticized the condition of military vehicles and emergency storage units which are crucial for supplying reserve troops during war.
In late December, IDF Comptroller Brig.-Gen. (res.) Ilan Harari, who conducted a 45-day investigation into issues of IDF preparedness and readiness raised in Brick’s report, rejected his claims.
According to Harari, there has been a significant improvement in the ground forces, who are “unequivocally prepared for war.” However, he noted that there were a number of gaps in the ground forces which have been neglected for years, including the maintenance of the IDF’s emergency warehouses, and the quality of infrastructure and training, as well as ammunition.
Another member of the committee which conducted the investigation along with Harari, the former head of the IDF’s Central Command Maj.-Gen. (res.) Avi Mizrachi, said that Israel has to add some NIS 2 billion to the ground forces in the military’s annual budget to narrow the existing gaps.