At a meeting with representatives from government ministries and emergency
services, Home Front Defense Minister Gilad Erdan instructed attendees to
increase their readiness and widen communications with local
He also asked local government representatives to examine
the readiness of public bomb shelters.
Turning to delegates from the
Environmental Protection Ministry, Erdan urged them to exercise their authority
and decrease the quantity of hazardous substances near population
“Although the security evaluation is that the chances of Israel
being attacked are low, the security forces and home front protection
organizations are prepared for all scenarios,” he said at the end of the
meeting, which concluded on Wednesday evening.
On Thursday, the Home
Front Command extended the opening hours for gas mask distribution centers, to
cope with the massive demand of recent days.
Anxious Israelis have
flooded the centers, anticipating an attack on Israel in response to any strike
by the US and its allies on Syria over the regime’s probable use of chemical
The centers, based in Israel Postal Service offices, will now be
open each day from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m., but the number of centers will not
Gaby Ofir, the former director-general of the Homeland Security
Ministry, said that “the number of gas masks in Israel today is not
Nonetheless, he added, “the kits are just a small link in
the chain of preparedness of the State of Israel.”
Currently, there are
enough masks for just 60 percent of the population.
The demand for the
masks has created unruly scenes at some distribution centers, including a
dispensary at the Hadar Mall in Talpiot, Jerusalem, which was forced to shut six
hours early on Wednesday after a near riot by the waiting
Meanwhile, the IDF has announced that non- Israelis must purchase
gas mask kits, as they are free only to citizens of the state.
mask distribution plan is meant for citizens of the State of Israel, and during
time of emergency a situation assessment will be made about whether or not to
supply gas masks to people who are residing in Israel and are not citizens,”
said an IDF spokesman on Wednesday.