MK Nachman Shai on Thursday urged the Prime Minister to officially “upgrade” the status Operation Protective Edge from an IDF operation to a “war.” The government has been under pressure to do so, political and economic experts say, but has been reluctant to do so, because it will require greater outlays in compensation for those damaged by the war - precisely the reason why many are calling for the change in status.
With the fighting moving into its third week, an additional 16,000 soldiers are being called up for reserve duty, bringing the total of active reservists to over 85,000. The reservists, mostly of working age, are having their salaries covered by the National Insurance Institute, while individuals and businesses suffering from property damage due to rocket attacks are being compensated by the Mas Rechush (Property Tax) division of the Finance Ministry.
In addition, the government last week voted to provide funds to compensate businesses for loss of income in front-line communities near the Gaza border.
However, businesses in other areas that have been experiencing losses due to the war – because of a lack of manpower to fulfill contracts and obligations, or because shoppers fear to make purchases – are not being compensated.
A declaration of war, however, would open up the door for them, and many others, to file claims seeking reimbursement for damages they suffered.
Failure to do so is unjust, said Shai. “A declaration of war is the right thing to do, given the length of the war, for residents of the entire country who have been damaged by the rocket fire. Such a declaration will enable them to be appropriately compensated,” he added.