Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman is seeking an extra NIS 4.8 billion over the next three years to deal in part with increased threats along the northern border, including from Syria and Iran.
“There is a fundamental change in the security situation in the region which requires an increase in the defense budget,” Liberman said on Monday, as he detailed several reasons for the increased spending. “Our primary goal is to prevent the next war.”
The defense minister said the IDF has maintained a high level of security for several years, but now the “situation is fragile and volatile.” Liberman detailed three new situations that did not exist when the budget was first drafted: a “massive Russian presence” in Syria; precision weapons introduced in the area, with both Hezbollah and “other elements” trying to get precise weapons; and a dramatic acceleration in the Iranian military industry, which is a source of concern not just for Israel but also for the Arab League.
Liberman added that the Iranian military budget was growing at a much faster rate than the IDF budget.
“The IDF will deal with every challenge under any circumstance,” Liberman said. He explained that he was not issuing any threats nor did he want to make it seem as if the IDF would stop fighting if it didn’t receive the extra money.
“But I want everyone to be aware of the sensitive situation we have found ourselves in,” Liberman said. “If we want to ensure the security of the citizens of Israel, we will have to increase the budget.”