Proclaim ye this among the Gentiles; Prepare war, wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near; let them come up—Joel 3:9
Against earlier government decisions, the IDF 2014 budget will increase. On January 29, the Knesset Finance Committee approved supplements that erase the cuts announced previously.
PM Netanyahu and Chief of Staff Gantz
Graduation ceremony of navy officers in Haifa, Israel, September 2013
Operation Barbarossa: The German Invasion of Soviet Russia
IDF Trapped Itself
In recent years, the IDF put emphasis on smart toys like antimissiles and submarines capable of carrying nuclear weapons. Last year, the Minister of Defense announced the Teuza (Bravery) Plan+ aimed at significantly diminishing the size of most of the army,* announcing the dismissal of tens of thousands of reservists, the firing of several thousand officers and warrant officers from the standing army, as well as taking out of service old tanks, ships and planes.
Sharon in Beirut
Operation Barbarossa: The German Invasion of Soviet Russia
Also the antimissiles systems were put on hold, with no new batteries planned to be added in 2014, mainly due to their poor performance. In November 2012, during Operation Pillar of Cloud, they achieved around 30% success, and in a subsequent attack on Eilat they achieved a neat 0% success.$ Moreover, a Qassam rocket costs around $100, while an antimissile projectile costs over $50,000. Not even Rothschild can win such a asymmetric game.
On the same day that the new budget was announced, Major General Kochabi, Head of AMAN (IDF Intelligence Directorate), said in a public interview “170,000 missiles are aimed at Israel.” As expected, his words hid the Knesset decision to enlarge the budget. Scaring citizens is a proven way to keep them quiet. Stalin knew this; Netanyahu uses this.
Israel published in December 2011 that Iran acquired the capability to blind spy satellites (Iran Hits American Satellite). Bashar al-Assad said after the September agreement on the destruction of Syrian chemical weapons that these are old and not needed anymore, adding that Syria can blind Israeli satellites. This may be another reason for Israel slowing down the antimissiles deployment. The function of some of them depends on satellite communications. A coordinated strike on the very few Israeli satellites can render the expensive toys useless.
Most Israeli generals are tacticians that grew up in special units. They were unable to comprehend the big picture until it was too late. “Look how pretty the antimissiles are! What beautiful colors!” They kept congratulating each other while dandily combing their hairdo.
Last May, the government approved the 2014 Ministry of Defense budget. The amount was of NIS 51 billion, roughly $15 billion. This amount doesn’t include $3 billion in U.S. aid, used mainly for the purchase of American weapons. Of this amount, $6.3 billion were planned to be the IDF 2014 budget; this was substantially less than the $8.4 billion used by the army in 2013.
United States of Israel
The main reason for the substantial cut was the Teuza Plan. Another one was the announcement of the Minster of Finances that a new salaries agreement with the IDF is needed. Coming during public protests on the large salaries given to the standing army forces (“A Day in a General’s Life” Strikes the IDF), it is safe to assume he intended to cut them.
Minister of Defense Ya’alon didn’t like that. While announcing the budget in May, he added “I consider myself responsible for representing the standing army. One of the Finance Ministry’s offers is ‘let’s manage the salaries and pensions.’ Can I abandon the soldiers’ fate to the [Finance Ministry’s] hands?”
Chief of Staff Gantz said in a public event that he “won’t agree to have the basic rights of the standing army trampled on. Impairing your rights is akin to impairing Israel’s security.”
Budget battles are fought in Israel until the last second and then some more. A budget for the next year approved in May was as credible as rain in August.
IDF is Moving
In November, it became clear that the State budget had a surplus of $1.7 billion due to under-implementation of plans unrelated to the army. PM Netanyahu allotted half of this amount to the IDF as an addition to its 2014 budget.
The IDF added $300 million to the budget as part of the plan to draft Ultra-Orthodox man.
Plans to remove bases from central Israel (mainly to the new training bases city in the south) will be implemented ahead of time. The IDF will profit from the selling of the very expensive lands to new residential projects. This will add an estimated $300 million to the Ministry of Defense.
In addition of approving these additions to the budget, the Knesset Commitee approved yesterday also the transfer of a not-completely disclosed amount of money (at least $50 million) to intelligence agencies which are not an integral part of the IDF.
Right now, the 2014 budget had crossed the NIS 54 billion, not counting the American aid. That is not all, in 2012, $500 million of the American aid were not used. The money will be unfrozen in 2014.
In other words, after approving deep cuts in the IDF, its budget is growing significantly.
In the paragraphs above I summarized the endless chitchat of generals and politicians. The dust their words raised from the scorching desert hid reality so well that nobody asked the NIS 54 billion question.
The IDF will experience operational cuts of nearly $2 billion; the implementation of the Teuza Plan is reviewed by the media almost daily. The cut is for real. Yet, the army budget is increasing significantly. Even rationally upgrading the standing army salaries won’t explain the difference. What is the IDF planning to do with the money?
On the same day of the Knesset announcement, Lieutenant General Gantz said that no option in Syria is good for Israel. Major General Kochabi mentioned the missiles threat. The antimissiles cannot provide a solution to the problem in the near future.
Joining these facts together, it is safe to assume that Israel is planning a traditional war with Syria. A ground army entering a foreign territory and attempting to remove the missiles. This would include also Lebanon; Hezbollah is stronger than ever and capable of answering Israeli attacks.
A failure on the Geneva talks between the West and Syria may be the trigger to what Israel will claim to be a preemptive strike. Such a scenario costs money and Israel just allotted it. Is this right, Minister Ya’alon?
Mr. Roi Tov is one of the frequent contributors for The 4th Media.
* Ehud Barak was IDF Chief of Staff between 1991 and 1995. Having served as soldier, officer and commander of Sayeret Matkal, the army’s top commando unit, he was the first Chief of Staff with enough power to tackle the Princes. While entering office he promised to transform the IDF into a “small and smart” army. When he left, the IDF was larger, fatter, and definitely not smarter. Yet, he made order in the commando units scene, his monster-baby. Until he arrived, high quality infantry brigades were controlled directly from the large Commands (North, Central and South) instead of being part of a regular division. Commando units could be found randomly placed in the army’s hierarchy, with Sayeret Matkal being controlled directly by the General Command Headquarters (the Matkal).
Media reports on the structure of IDF commando and reconnaissance units (adding to the confusion, both enter under the Hebrew term “sayeret,” which can be loosely translated as “wanderer”) are fuzzy due to the intentional operative matrix, adopted by these. These units overlap in their capabilities, adding flexibility to the General Command in their use. Barak kept this functionality but changed the chain of command. For example, Infantry Brigade #1, Golani, was downgraded from the North Command to Division 36 on the Golan Heights. Beyond adding order, it added confusion to media reports.
+ Teuza Plan section of the website:
IDF Reorganization Plan Teuza 2013-2014
Israel Military Industry Swan Song Israel bombs Victory and Bogie defeats Liberty
“A Day in a General’s Life” Strikes the IDF Major General: “IDF Uniform a Shame” IDF Reshapes Reserve Army Destroyers Threaten Eastern Mediterranean Gas Fields
Israeli Pentagon Bunkers Up IDF Exercises Conquest of Gaza City Key IDF Rearrangement Announced IDF Offensive Redeployment Amid Syrian Fire
IDF Abandons Greater Gaza IDF Exposes Next War Israeli Navy Strategic Shift Jericho Ballistic Test, Saudi Missiles, and an IDF Brave New Plan
$ Israel likes to make boastful declarations about its antimissile systems. Yet, most reports on Israeli media are about failed interceptions. Israel manipulates its antimissile system interception data; this is the result of the systems being aimed for export, mainly to South Korea and Singapore, but also due to the generous American support of the development process. The manipulation is straightforward; the system is deployed exclusively where it has optimal interception conditions. Moreover, during Pillar of Cloud, Israel shot two anti-missiles against every missile. This leads to what in Measurement Theory is known as a bad sampling of data, which becomes unrepresentative of the overall population of the studied event. With this foiled magic, Israeli media claims that the interception rate is 90%. In Pillar of Cloud ends Unfinished, I quoted the data released by the IDF following the operation. It shows that 700 missiles out of the 1,000 fired by Hamas hit Israel. This amounts to a 70% failure of Iron Dome. (Israeli Anti-Missiles Fail in Eilat Attack)