There has been wide speculation about the overall cost of Israel’s nearly two-month long war on the Gaza Strip. Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon stepped in today to say the direct military cost of the war was $9 billion.
Ya’alon insisted the war would’ve been worth it at three times the price, citing the huge damage done to Hamas. A new poll today showed Hamas is actually more popular in the strip after the war.
$9 billion is a huge chunk of Israel’s annual $14 billion military budget, and over two years worth of US military subsidies. That’s only the direct military costs, a fraction of the overall cost to the Israeli economy, as the war hugely hurt the nation’s important tourism industry.
The Israeli government has struggled to sell the war as a great military victory, but apart from a large civilian death toll there was very little measurable consequence to the war at all, and with Israel already facing a budget crunch over military spending, it wasn’t a great time to dump money on a pointless war.