Refurbished gas masks will be returned to the public in early 2009, the security cabinet decided Wednesday, in a decision recommended by Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilna'i. Whilst the defense establishment has been collecting the masks for repair since last year, there has been much deliberation as to whether or not the need exists to return emergency kits, including gas masks, to citizens. Many thought that the task should be left to the Home Front Command, and that in the case of war soldiers could distribute the masks to civilians. A special committee that was established in the Ministry of Defense, headed by former OC Home Front Command Maj.-Gen. Ze'ev Livneh, stated a number of times that there is no need for the kits to remain in civilian homes. Nevertheless, the committee decided to make the opposite decision. Brig.-Gen. (Res) Ze'ev Tzuk-Ram, the head of the newly formed National Emergency Authority for which Vilna'i is ultimately responsible, stated that "there is no need for alarm, we are speaking only of a technical procedure." The masks will be refurbished in order to protect citizens against unconventional attacks. This comes amid concerns of escalation to future chemical attacks by Iran or Syria. It is still unclear how the emergency kits containing the gas masks will be distributed to the public - whether by distribution stations or a different system.