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Israeli Gas Mask Handouts to Cease

Israel's failure to appropriate sufficient money to continue manufacturing gas masks has forced the military there to halt delivery of the protective gear as of April, the Jerusalem Post reported on Monday (see GSN, March 8).

A 6-year-old Israel Defense Forces effort to replace older protective respiratory equipment is expected before the halt to have distributed new gas masks to slightly more than 4 million people, or roughly three-fifths of Israel's population. The remainder of Israeli citizens have yet to receive such devices.

The absence of money for the program stems from an ongoing dispute between Israel's Defense and Finance ministries over which office should finance the effort in the future.

“Nothing has changed, even though there will not be any gas masks left by the end of the month,” one high-level defense insider stated on Monday. “Once the production line closes it will also take time to restart it."

The situation stands amid continued indications that Israel might attack nuclear sites in longtime foe Iran and as fighting in Syria raises concerns about the security of that nation's chemical arsenal (Yaakov Katz, Jerusalem Post, March 20).

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