JERUSALEM (Jun. 19)
A Hebrew University economist said today that the cost of the Lebanon war was two or two-and-a-half times higher than the official figures indicate.
The defense budget places the cost of the three year venture into Lebanon at $1.6-$1.8 billion. But according to Prof. Haim Barkai, $4-$4.5 billion is closer to the mark.
He said, at a symposium, that the cost included about $700 million for military reservists called to duty and another $100 million in lost tourism. He said the build-up of the Israel Defense Force cost tens of millions of Dollars and was due to a parallel build-up of the Syrian army because of the Lebanon war.
The war had other adverse effects on the economy. Israel’s foreign debt rose from $13 billion in 1981 to $19.4 billion in 1984 while the growth of the gross national product (GNP) decreased by three percent, Barkai said.