40 Percent of Israelis Without Gas Masks

YERUSHALAYIM -

The reported poison gas attack in Syria has once again highlighted Israel’s lack of preparedness on the homefront, as about 40 percent of Israeli citizens still have no gas masks, according to government officials.

Anxiety over the threat of chemical warfare has spiked in Israel as the post office said on Sunday that requests for masks have increased fourfold in the last few days.

In May, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu announced a new $350 million initiative to provide every Israeli with a gas mask. However, a Homefront Command official said that a “question of budget” had held up the initiative.

Despite the lack of gas masks, the official went on to say that Israel is more prepared than ever before for the case of a chemical weapons attack. “We are prepared for any scenario,” he said, adding that Home Front Command forces are “continually learning and training” for such a scenario.

In Israel, gas masks are distributed via the post office, which maintains an information page (Hebrew). Citizens can order and check availability by calling *2237.