The NIS 1 billion addition to the defense budget, which was approved Monday, reflects the required list of priorities at this time.
The Israeli teens' abduction illustrates once again the fragility of the security situation in our region, and reminds us that a radical Islamic storm is sweeping through the Middle East – with the State of Israel at its epicenter.
Iran has been controlled by a Shiite Islamic regime for 35 years now. Al-Qaeda forces are operating militarily in Syria, are taking over parts of Iraq, and have established cells in Judea and Samaria. In Lebanon, the Hezbollah organization is armed with missiles and rockets. Gaza is controlled by Hamas, which has massive presence in the West Bank as well.
We should also lose sleep over what is happening in Afghanistan, Somalia, Yemen and Libya. Even in Turkey, the ruling party is turning the country, slowly but surely, from a secular state into a religious one.
Some will claim that this situation report aims to cause panic and sow fear, but unfortunately this is the reality. A religious war is taking place around us with the goal of destroying national identity and turning the entire region into one massive Islamic state operating under Sharia law.
This situation poses a real threat to Israel – an island of stability, democracy and Western liberalism in the Middle East. We are not the only ones subject to this threat: Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states are sensing the danger too.
Israel has enjoyed relative calm on its borders recently. Our short memory has allowed an extensive public debate, filled with media spin, which aimed to cut the defense budget and seriously affecting career officers.
The teens' abduction is a painful reminder of the reality in which we live. Lifting our heads out of our daily troubles reveals the dangers the State of Israel is facing.
We are all following our forces anxiously as they work day and night to bring Gil-Ad, Naftali and Eyal back home safe and sound. These forces are always accompanied by cyber and intelligence soldiers who hope to provide the golden piece of information that will make it possible to retrieve the kidnapped boys. They are doing it unconditionally, devotedly, out of a sense of mission and responsibility. Without overtime and without complaints from a workers' committee.
Israel is a small country operating in an area filled with challenges, threats and dangers. It must always be alert and prepared to face whatever may happen.
The desire to change the list of priorities and allocate budgets for civilian purposes at the army's expense, as voiced in the public debate in recent months, is clear and obvious, and we must indeed explore this option from time to time. The IDF is also required to look inwards, be efficient and save every possible shekel.
But in light of the geopolitical situation, we must not let short periods of relative calm make us lose focus and allocate an insufficient defense budget. Otherwise, we may suffer damage that will be difficult to fix in the future.
Vice Admiral Eliezer Marom was the commander of the Israeli Navy in the years 2007-2011.