Seventy-two Israelis, four of them civilians and one a little boy of only four, paid the ultimate price during the summer’s Gaza war. But the nation also paid a high economic price for the 50-day battle against Hamas.
Government ministries this week were stressed that their budgets would be hit in the wake of the war. The Netanyahu government already had a difficult time putting together its current, fragile national budget.
On Sunday, the cabinet warily approved an across-the-board 2 percent budget cut to pay for the war and help rehabilitate the southern regions that absorbed thousands of Hamas rocket strikes.
Each major ministry will lose hundreds of millions of shekels from their budgets, except for the Defense Ministry, which will receive NIS 1.5 billion (USD $420 million) to cover the high costs of thousands of aerial strikes, fuel for tanks, food and arms for 60,000 infantry, etc.
The rehabilitation scheme for the south will cost NIS 2.7 billion (USD $750) over five years.
However, some are arguing that since Israel halted the war before fully defeating Hamas, the next Gaza conflagration is likely to occur in 2–3 years, going by recent history, before the region even has a chance to fully rehabilitate.
There is also the issue of a general lack of security. Many residents of southern Israel still have not returned home, and those who have express feelings of trepidation. The long-term effect of the Gaza war (and the failure to eliminate Hamas’ ability to threaten Israel) is that the population of the southern regions could dwindle, exasperating the difficult economic situation there.
This summer the citizens of Israel’s south have been especially affected and are struggling, not only from the emotional and psychological impact of rockets from Gaza, but also from dire economic hardships resulting from the war.
We at Israel Today would also like to contribute to the recovery and rebuilding of the lives of more than one million residents of Israel’s south.
Browse through our catalog of new Israeli products from the south and help its residents to know and feel that they are not alone in these difficult times