Israeli officials have denied that they are planning to impose a tax on gas masks, according to media reports on Tuesday.
Minister of Home Front Defense Gilad Erdan admitted that while they had been considering such a tax in order to defray the cost of millions of new masks, the idea has been put aside.
When the tax proposal was disclosed earlier in the day during a Knesset’s Control Committee meeting, it was not welcomed.
MK Amnon Cohen (Shas) said, “This is crazy. They’ve imposed enough budget cuts and economic burdens on the public… The state must bear the cost of the gas masks,” he asserted.
About 40% of Israelis do not have up-to-date gas masks. The cost of supplying the protective equipment to those millions of Israelis is estimated at 300 million shekels.
Cohen also decried the lack of emergency preparedness described in the State Comptroller’s report. “It’s very concerning that citizens’ safety is not certain. Nobody is taking responsibility… I pray to G-d that there will not be attacks that expose the failures.”
After the committee meeting, the Finance Ministry issued a statement expressing its opposition to the tax.