Gas mask distribution centers closed after 23 years of service
Defense officials determined the present threat to Israelis has decreased substantially due to the int’l teams dismantling of Syria’s chemical weapons.
Decisions on future distribution will be made based on upcoming threat assessments.
By Shlomi Diaz, Shlomo Cesana & Lilach Shoval
Gas mask kits will no longer be handed out in Israel as of Thursday, in accordance with a government decision to close distribution centers.
Trying on my gas-mask – Photo: IsraelandStuff/PP
The decision stemmed from the defense establishment’s belief that the threat to Israeli citizens has decreased substantially due to the dismantling of Syria’s chemical weapons.
After Thursday, gas mask production will be limited and the kits will be distributed to emergency service teams alone. According to the Prime Minister’s Office, the decision to continue distribution in the future will be made by the defense establishment based on ongoing observations and estimates of the level of threat facing citizens.
As early as November, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon was reportedly considering recommending halting the production and distribution of gas masks. Aside from the dwindling Syrian risk, budgetary considerations were also factored into the decision.
The move has detractors, particularly among Homefront Command officials. In December, one official said the decision on gas masks should not be made for six months “in order to see how the process of decommissioning Syria’s chemical weapons goes.” According to the official, it would only be possible to reach a decision in the summer.
Gas mask distribution will halt as of Thursday – Photo: Yehoshua Yosef
The Homefront Command is also concerned that other countries, including Iran, have chemical weapons, not to mention the possibility that terrorist groups could obtain them in the future.
View original Israel Hayom publication at: http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=15801