The last four days of fighting in the Gaza Strip have so far cost the country NIS 200-250 million ($50-$63 million), and initial estimates indicate that a week of similar combat would cost NIS 400-450 million ($101-$113 million). According to experts, if a ground assault is launched in Gaza, the cost may reach NIS 3-4 billion ($756 million-$1 billion).
A spokesman for the Homefront Command said the country was prepared for an operation lasting at least seven consecutive weeks, as opposed to the three weeks of Operation Cast Lead in Gaza in 2008-9.
Although both operations targeted a geographically small area, the Israel Defense Forces are employing more sophisticated technological weaponry in the current conflict which has raised the cost considerably.
The cost of an expanded operation will have a significant impact on the government’s 2012-13 budget, especially that of the Defense Ministry. The cost will ultimately depend on the length of the operation, the number of reservists called up and the types of units participating in the operation.
A day of combat in Gaza, based on aerial activities and usage of the Iron Dome anti-rocket defense batteries, costs NIS 50-70 million ($13-$18 million). An expanded call-up of reserves and a ground assault would increase the daily cost to NIS 150-200 million ($38-$50 million).
The cost of an Iron Dome missile interception is around NIS 250,000 ($63,000) and the cost of a single sortie carried out by an advanced combat aircraft is estimated at NIS 500,000-750,000 ($126,000-$190,000). The usage of unmanned aerial vehicles is also costly at NIS 10,000 ($2,520) per hour of flight. The cost of one hour of combat helicopter usage is NIS 100,000 ($25,000).
The most costly aspect of the war is the call-up and deployment of reservists. One reserve solider could cost the IDF NIS 1,000 ($252) per day. This means that the call-up of 16,000 reserve soldiers (the number already called up), costs NIS 112 million ($28 million) per week, and 75,000 reservists (the number the IDF is considering calling up) would cost the country NIS 525 million ($132 million) per week.
The civilian cost of the war, including rebuilding infrastructure, monetary compensation for employees absent from their jobs due to the war, and compensation for factories and industries unable to operate during the war, may reach NIS 800 million to NIS 1 billion ($201-$252 million) depending on the direct and indirect scope of damage to public property and infrastructure.
A ground assault in Gaza will severely hamper the country’s rate of economic growth, which according to estimates may reach a GNP loss of 0.3%.
Source: Israel Hayom