IDF: Non-Israelis must purchase gas masks

Ahead of predicted US-led attack on Syria, Home Front Command says only citizens are eligible to receive protective kits.

August 29, 2013 03:42
1 minute read.
US Embassy in Tel Aviv

US Embassy Tel Aviv 311. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)


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Non-Israeli citizens in the country looking to obtain a gas mask ahead of a predicted US-led attack on Syria will have to purchase one privately, the IDF Home Front Command said on Wednesday.

They added that unless a decision is made by the government to provide gas masks for foreign workers, tourists and other non-citizens in the country, only citizens are eligible to receive the protective kits.

The IDF Spokesperson Command said Wednesday that “the Home Front Command is prepared at all times to supply residents of Israel in times of emergency in the best possible way. The gas 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.”

All week long lines and even fist fights have been reported at distribution centers across the country, and in online forums popular with tourists and foreigners in Israel, there has been much confusion about how to attain a gas mask for those who are not citizens.

A spokesman for the US Embassy in Tel Aviv said that special evacuation or gas mask distribution plans for US citizens in Israel had not been implemented along with the talk of an attack of Syria. He recommended that citizens looking for information turn to the Israel section of the travel safety portion of the State Department’s website.

The last emergency message for American citizens posted to the section dealt with the terror threat to US embassies earlier in August.

On the popular Facebook group “Secret Tel Aviv” one user uploaded a response to a query sent to the United States Embassy in Tel Aviv which said, “the US Embassy does not provide gas masks.

The Israeli government only provides gas masks to legal residents of Israel. Tourist and temporary residents have to privately purchase gas masks.”

They also provided a list of places where people can buy the masks.

According to Home Front Command figures, as of this week only 60 percent of Israelis have gas masks.

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