Adding to the high price Pillar of Defense has exacted from the government and civilians of the State of Israel - in slain and wounded, personal suffering by residents, damage to property, and vicious campaigns against Israel being conducted around the world – is the financial and economic cost of the operation, which is impossible to calculate all the while fighting and defense actions are still underway.
Photo: Flash 90
According to recent data published by Zvi Lavi, economic correspondent of Ynet news, one day of military action costs the Israeli economy NIS 1.5 billion – approximately $380 million. Interception of Katyusha or Grad rockets by the Iron Dome defense system costs NIS 250,000, and an hour of a bomber plane flight costs between NIS 200,000-250,000. The cost of launching an Iron Dome anti-missile battery is estimated at NIS 250,000-280,000. It is not clear whether those figures include the cost of developing and producing the systems. To operate an air force chopper costs NIS 60-80,000 per hour of flight. In addition, calling up the army reserves costs NIS 500 NIS per soldier each day. It is premature to calculate civilian damage resulting from shelling as long as the assaults from Gaza continue.
Lavi notes that the timing of the Pillar of Defense budget-wise is unfortunate coming as it does at the end of the 2012 fiscal year, which is expected to end in a deficit of dozens of billions of shekels. The 2013 budget has not yet been discussed in the Knesset and the budget framework is as yet unknown; it is unclear how the state will meet the expenses of Pillar of Defense. The total cost to the state in general and to the Ministry of Defense specifically depends, of course, on the number of days the operation continues.
According to Lavi, Operation Cast Lead four years ago cost NIS 3.57 billion. Damages to small businesses and commercial enterprises resulting from hostile activities amounted to NIS 800. The Second Lebanon War cost the economy NIS 4.5 billion due to the large number of buildings in the North that were hit Hezbollah missiles, not including the number of work days lost due to the call-up of the reserves.