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Israel Spent $3 Billion on Iran Attack

"Hallucinated adventures that were not implemented and would not be implemented..."—Ehud Olmert



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The Israeli Administration is far from being transparent; people working for it prefer to be secretive than to face the embarrassment of being unable to explain properly the ways they waste the people's taxes. Israel's Ministry of Defense is even more cautious. It is not difficult to find out that its 2012 budget was around $15 billion, but the exact allocation of the money is secret. Not even the Ministry of Finances is allowed to peep inside this country-within-a-country. 2012 Was the year in which Netanyahu overpowered his Minister of Defense, Ehud Barak. One of the decisive battles of this bitter war dealt with the Ministry of Defense budget; Netanyahu sent his Minister of Finances to make order in Barak's bastion. Despite Barak's subsequent retirement, getting accurate details on this budget is still impossible. However, understanding how it works helps to elucidate a spectacular event that took place in 2012, when $3 billion went missing.

On January 11, 2013, former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert gave an interview to Channel Two's "Friday's Studio." He accused Netanyahu of spending that staggering sum on "hallucinated adventures that were not implemented and would not be implemented... 2012 was the decisive year, they [the government] scared the entire world, but did nothing." He refused to be more specific, but afterwards he spoke about the details of the decision-making process on an attack on Iran. In the Hebrew reality, this was an admission that his previous accusation referred to such an attack. The confirmation came the next morning, when Haaretz, a leading Hebrew newspaper, published the numbers and the history. In slightly over a year, Netanyahu approved an extra $3 billion for planning, exercising and buying equipment designated to attack Iran. This as an addition to the ever largest IDF budget in Israel's history; IDF generals love Netanyahu.

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IAF Tel Nof Patch

IAF Tel Nof Patch
One of the main bases the attack was to be launched from
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Loose Change

The basic budget unit of the IDF is a division; in other words a unit led by a brigadier general. The air force organization is slightly different, but this rule still applies; commanders of main bases have this rank and run their own budget. They get the funds from the Ministry of Defense, and then are quite independent in the way they spend it (though a general plan must be approved beforehand). Corruption cases are not particularly common, but they exist. This is true especially within units in contact with civilians. In this case, the entire extra budget went to air force bases. Ramat David Airbase (Wing 1) and Tel Nof Airbase (Air Force Base 8) were among the main beneficiaries.

Little was disclosed about the preparations to the attack; yet, we know the overall cost. Attempting a detailed breakdown is futile. However, several details are available. The attack force was to use mainly F-15 Eagle fighters carrying GBU-28 Bunker Buster bombs. Numbers on the following details may vary a bit, but they give a general idea of the costs. An F-15 Eagle can cost up to $30 million, an hour of flight can cost up to $30,000 while a GBU-28 Bunker Buster costs $150,000.

$3 Billion is enough money to buy 100 fighters. The IAF currently has 736 aircrafts; disguising a substantial purchase of fighters is impossible. Yet, no announcements on unusual purchases were made. The same amount would have allowed 10,000 hours of flights. That is not an admissible amount for exercising a single attack; after all IAF owns good simulators, they could save some money using them. In 2011, the New York Times and other mainstream media outlets reported that Israel had obtained a specific presidential permit to purchase up to one hundred GBU-28 Bunker Buster bombs; the current amount of money is enough for purchasing 2,000 such bombs. Somehow, the numbers don't fit. Israel reported plans about a limited attack on Iran while apparently it prepared for an attack on the entire world. This happened while Israel was forced to delay the war by the USA; wars during election years are often counterproductive.

Yet, the money was allotted and duly passed to the units, for the joy of their subcontractors' families. From there, it disappeared after having contributed to "hallucinated adventures that were not implemented and would not be implemented." Mr. Netanyahu, this is called corruption.

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