Alex Fishman
Alex Fishman
Photo: Abigail Uzi
IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi in a cabinet meeting on the Iranian issue

Follow the money: Where do IDF funds go and who monitors it?

Opinion: The conditional allocation of funds for a plan to strike Iran signals the current government wants transparency on where the military budget is being spend on after years of misuse of funds and billions going down the drain

Alex Fishman |
Published: 12.08.21, 14:12
A few months ago the Israel Defense Forces were required to present to the cabinet and the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee a periodic report on its preparedness in the wake of Iran accelerating its nuclear program.
  • Follow Ynetnews on Facebook and Twitter

  • Or, in other words, the cabinet under Prime Minister Naftali Bennett decided to monitor more closely - than it ever did in the past decade - where the money the IDF is being allocated goes to.
    4 צפייה בגלריה
    אביב כוכבי בוועדת החוץ והביטחון
    אביב כוכבי בוועדת החוץ והביטחון
    IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi in a cabinet meeting on the Iranian issue
    (Photo: Noam Moskowitz)
    Furthermore, presenting the report was one of the conditions for the addition of some five billion shekels to the military's budget, which are intended to fund a new plan of attack against Iran's nuclear facilities.
    Bennett didn't hide the fact that he was surprised by the discrepancy between his predecessors' public statements on Iran and his actions.
    It turns out that previous governments approved long-term plans for the development and acquisition of relevant means and capabilities in the battle against Iran, but the money often times has gone to other things, while the political influence and control over the military was minimal.
    4 צפייה בגלריה
    KC-46
    KC-46
    Israel's newly-acquired airplane, KC-46
    (Photo: Shutterstock)
    Maybe the IDF did buy some new armored personnel carriers, battleships, and boosted the ground forces, all of which are important as well, without a doubt. However, some of the past budgets that were meant to be used to draft a plan for an attack on Iran - we are talking about billions of shekels - were not used for their intended purpose.
    During the reign of former IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot, the army was authorized to divert some of the funds to other purposes, even though he was in charge at the time when the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran was signed.
    As a result, a few fundamental issues and crucial projects were not completed on time and billions just went down the drain.
    Current IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi took office when the U.S. withdrew from the nuclear agreement, affectively ending it, and the Iranians were still years away from developing a nuclear bomb. At this point, the top political and military echelons were supposed to re-draw Israel's plans, but that didn't happen.
    4 צפייה בגלריה
    המתקן בנתנז
    המתקן בנתנז
    Iran's advanced centrifuges
    (Photo: EPA)
    So what happened in the last few months that caused Israel and the military to wake up and urgently allocate five billion shekels towards the Iranian issue?
    The Iranians already have tens of kilograms of uranium enriched to 60%, and the rumors of the revival of the nuclear deal have been circulating for months, so what has pushed Israel to begin preparing for an attack now?
    Israel estimates that the Iranians have over 400 new centrifuges, which enrich uranium at a higher rate than thousands of the old models.
    When Mossad head David Barnea met this week with his colleagues in Washington, both sides knew for sure that talks in Vienna to revive the 2015 deal between Iran and world powers were pointless.
    This week, when Defense Minister Benny Gantz himself jets off for the U.S., the deadlock in the Vienna talks will be the main talking point. The possibility the U.S. will decide to conduct a limited demonstration of its military power to clarify the seriousness of its intentions is once again on the table
    4 צפייה בגלריה
    IDF soldiers join the search on Tuesday for six men who broke out of the Gilboa maximum security prison
    IDF soldiers join the search on Tuesday for six men who broke out of the Gilboa maximum security prison
    IDF soldiers join the search for six men who broke out of the Gilboa maximum security prison
    (Photo: EPA)
    Whether Israel would join such a move or only pay the price for it, must be coordinated with the United States.
    When face with criticism on planning, organization and IDF's misuse of resources, the military hides behind the government's instability. But that's not the issue anymore, since Kochavi holds a regular meeting once a month, in which he is presented with the status of each IDF project.
    The issue is that the mishandling of the Iranian issue was all done inside the military itself, and maybe now, in face of the growing crisis, the political leadership will return to its traditional role - overseeing IDF's plans, organization, and use of resources.
    Talkbacks for this article 0