gas mask, IDF soldier_311.
(photo credit: Gil Cohen Magen/Reuters)
Ahead of the planned suspension of the production and distribution of gas masks
to the public, the IDF Home Front Command sent letters to its reservists this
week urging them to collect gas masks by the end of February.
signed by the head of the command’s Jerusalem District, was sent to reservists
due to a government refusal to allocate funds necessary to continue
Less than four million citizens have received new gas masks
under the IDF’s distribution program, which began in 2006 with the collection of
the public’s old masks.
“There are a limited number of gas masks left and
if you do not get one now you could be left without one,” Col. Sagi Tirosh wrote
in the letter.
“As people whose role in the reserves is to protect the
home front we need to understand the need to act now and obtain masks for our
In December, The Jerusalem Post revealed that due to ongoing
disagreements between the Defense Ministry and the Treasury, the refurbishment
and distribution of masks will come to an end in late February. The Defense
Ministry has asked for a budget supplement while the Treasury has argued the
money should come from the regular defense budget.
IDF sources confirmed
that the letter had been sent to reservists in the Jerusalem District but
stressed that the Home Front Command has been running a campaign over the past
year aimed at encouraging Israelis to order their gas masks.
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is carried out by the Israel Postal Company, which delivers the kits to people’s
The IDF has recorded a sharp climb in the number of citizens
contacting the company in recent weeks, understood to be sparked by reports of a
possible Israeli attack against Iran.
“Nothing has changed and we have
not seen a shekel,” a defense official said on Tuesday.
News of the lack
of gas masks comes as the IDF is increasingly concerned with the possibility
that Syria’s extensive arsenal of chemical weapons will fall into rogue
It is also concerned with the possibility that President
Bashar Assad will be tempted to attack Israel if he feels his regime’s demise is
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