The Israeli military’s multi-year budget plan “is being hampered” by the ongoing political instability, reported Globes.
According to the report, a declaration last week by Prime Minister – and Defence Minister – Benjamin Netanyahu “about the need to increase the defence budget by NIS 4 billion [$1.1 billion] every year, caused quite a few raised eyebrows among professional staff in the Ministry of Finance”.
Analysts believe that such remarks constitute an attempt to place supposedly “urgent” security issues “at the top of the agenda”, and thus “put pressure on the Blue and White Party to agree to a unity government”.
Based on what Netanyahu has stated, Israel’s 2020 defence budget will be 76 billion shekels ($21.7 billion), “not including $3.8 billion in US military aid”.
However, “according to the Ministry of Finance, it is completely unclear who will pay for the budget increase that the prime minister is talking about.”
One scenario worrying military Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi and the Ministry of Defence is that the political deadlock continues, meaning “there is no government, no budget, and a third election campaign in less than a year”.
According to Globes, “in such a situation, all of the state’s systems will have to operate on the basis of the 2019 budget divided by 12, with the addition of linkage to the interest rate.”
Should such a scenario materialise, this will force the army to “shift to a model of the essential and possible minimum”, with a focus on “core operational activity” at the expense of the “development of systems or attaining capabilities that will be significant strategic assets for the coming years”.
The report stated that, in practice, this would mean that the military’s goal “will be first and foremost to maintain its existing capabilities as a response to scenarios that are likely to occur”, such as “another round of fighting in the Gaza Strip”, and “continuation of the campaign between wars to the point of extreme escalation, leading to war in the north”.