Yair Lapid spoke to journalists Thursday about the hoped-for end of Operation Protective Edge, saying, “The IDF left the Gaza Strip after it achieved the goal of destroying terror tunnels.” He said, “Hamas is seriously hurt.”
“Gazan civilians, they are the ones who stood on the front lines, when Hamas leaders hid in bunkers, in hospitals, and civil institutions, and also hotels in Qatar.”
Lapid noted, “We paid a heavy price in this operation. We lost 64 of our boys, 3 civilians were killed. This hurts every one of us. With this pain that was with us daily, there was also pride. I am proud of our defense forces, of our soldiers and officers, and everyone who was a part of this.”
As the finance minister, people are looking to Lapid to answer questions about the financial outcome of the operation. He emphasized that “taxes will not be raised,” as a result of the operation in Gaza.
Lapid noted that Israel should be encouraging growth during this time, not “weighing down citizens.” Thus, he did not see a need to raise taxes at this time.
The military expenditures incurred during this period are estimated to be anywhere between 750 million and one billion shekels. Lapid said the current budget could account for the additional, unforeseen costs. “As I repeated and said during the operation, I am also saying today: we will not save a shekel” at the expense of “the security of IDF soldiers.”
He added that “apart from the soldiers, there is another place that we will not save in expenditures, and that is [compensating for the] damages sustained by the residents of the south and for reserve soldiers.”
Many southern businesses faced dramatic losses during the operation. The Ministry of Finance plans to lessen the blow, especially for those residents who work in tourism and agriculture, who were the hardest hit, according to Lapid.
The citizens of Israel should be looking forward now, towards the future. Lapid stressed, “Our goal is not to make things more difficult, but instead to ease them; not to slow things down but instead to speed them up.”