MK, NGO ask High Court to order state to immediately get gas masks to all citizens

Shai sends out a statement that the petition was filed "in light of the existential threats facing and confronting the state."

September 3, 2013 20:13
1 minute read.
Nachman Shai.

nachman shai 311. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

Labor MK Nachman Shai and an NGO called the Front for the Public Defense filed a petition on Tuesday to the High Court of Justice demanding that the state “immediately distribute gas masks to all citizens.”

Coming in the shadow of Syria’s recent alleged use of chemical weapons to gas as many as 1,429 of its own people, Shai sent out a statement that the petition was filed “in light of the existential threats facing and confronting the state.”

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The Labor MK added that “the public struggle for distribution of gas masks is leading to the High Court.”

He continued, “I hope that the High Court will compel the government to fulfill its decisions to equip every citizen and resident in the State of Israel with sufficient defense in recognition of the chemical weapons threat.”

Within hours of filing, Shai reported that the High Court had ordered the state to reply within seven days, fast in comparison to how quickly the court normally moves.

The petition came two days after State Comptroller Joseph Shapira publicly upbraided the state for a litany of failures in its distribution of gas masks and vowed a deeper investigation into the matter.

In a recent report and again in a public letter, Shapira drew attention to problems with shortages, long lines and general inefficiencies leaving many citizens undefended in the case of a chemical weapons attack.

Shapira especially criticized instances in which foreign workers, including those caring for the elderly and the disabled, were refused gas masks by the authorities distributing them.

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