Yishai: Gov't must increase budget for gas masks

Shas MK calls urgent meeting in light of violence in region; says there's a deficiency in protective measures for unconventional war.

August 26, 2013 10:56
1 minute read.
Eli Yishai at the President's residence, January 31, 2013.

Eli Yishai at the President's residence 370. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)

The government must allocate more resources to protect citizens from nonconventional weapons, Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Subcommittee on Home Front Preparedness chairman Eli Yishai (Shas) said Monday.

In light of escalating events in the Middle East, Yishai called a Wednesday meeting of the subcommittee during the Knesset’s summer recess so that MKs could examine preparedness for different scenarios in neighboring countries.

“The country must be ready for every possibility that could harm and disturb citizens’ everyday lives,” Yishai said.

“Under my leadership, the subcommittee will review any scenario that Israel may face, the government’s influence, home front preparedness and defense capabilities.”

According to Yishai, there has been a significant increase in the number of safe rooms in homes, known in Hebrew as “mamadim,” but there is a deficiency in protective measures for unconventional war, such as medicine and gas masks.

“We won’t be able to supply enough [gas masks] if, God forbid, something happens,” Yishai told Army Radio. “There needs to be a bigger budget.

We want to reach coverage of over 90 percent, which will cost NIS 350 million.”

According to Home Front Command figures, only 60% of Israelis have gas masks.

On Sunday, the postal service reported a fourfold increase in demand for gas masks. Israeli civilians are allocated gas masks and protective gear at postal service-operated distribution centers.

Ben Hartman contributed to this report.

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