IDF: Get gas masks before distribution ends

"There are a limited number of gas masks...if you don't get one now, you could be left without one," Col. Tirosh writes.

gas mask, IDF soldier_311 (photo credit: Gil Cohen Magen/Reuters)
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.
The note, 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 production.
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 families.”
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.
Distribution is carried out by the Israel Postal Company, which delivers the kits to people’s homes.
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 terrorist hands.
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 imminent.