Defense Min. Spends Record High on Israeli Goods

With summer war's expenses leading the spending, ministry extensively buys white and blue to boost economy while fighting.

Ari Yashar,

IDF Merkava mark 4 tank outside Gaza
IDF Merkava mark 4 tank outside Gaza
Albert Sadikov/Flash 90

New figures for 2014 published by the Defense Ministry on Wednesday morning show that record high expenditures were made acquiring domestic products, showing that a large portion of the ministry's sizable budget goes back into the Israeli economy.

Acquisitions by the ministry and the IDF over the course of the year from companies in Israel reached a record high of 14.1 billion shekels ($3.6 billion), reports the Hebrew-language The Marker.

The ministry's Director General and head of its Acquisition Bureau Brig. Gen. (res.) Shmuel Tzuker announced the figures, noting that they included the heightened expenses during last summer's Operation Protective Edge against Hamas terrorists in Gaza.

Of the 14.1 billion shekels, a full 3.2 billion shekels (over $800 million) were paid to factories and companies in the national priority regions and the confrontation line areas in the south and north, in range of Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Tzuker pointed out that many acquisitions were needed immediately during the war to replenish the military stockpiles, stating that around half of the 8.6 billion shekel ($2.2 billion) fighting expenses in the operation returned to the Israeli economy thanks to buying domestically.

The defense spending involved thousands of providers around Israel, with an emphasis placed on those located in the periphery regions, and included ammunition, spare parts and maintenance for IAF aircraft, weapons, intelligence equipment, foodstuff, equipment and even cleaning materials.

Breaking down the spending by subject, 6.25 billion shekels were spent on IDF ground forces, while 3 billion shekels were spent on air and naval forces.

A full 1.68 billion shekels went to intelligence teleprocessing, 1.79 billion shekels for logistic goods in various branches, and 1.35 billion shekels for services.

While Israel has long been largely supported by a defense budget from the US, that reliance was shown to be somewhat problematic during the war, as US President Barack Obama canceled a routine shipment of Hellfire missiles to Israel and ordered future weapons transfers to be closely scrutinized.

Therefore, aside from strengthening local Israeli defense industries and the domestic economy, greater domestic spending is also seen as addressing this concern of being dependent on a foreign source in the midst of combat.