Gas Mask Supply Limited Due to Budget Cuts as Israelis Scramble to Prepare for Possible Syria Attack

August 28, 2013 2:08 pm 14 comments

An IDF soldier showing a child how to put on a gas mask. Photo: IDF.

Members of the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, pointed to budget cuts Wednesday as the reason why 40% of the country’s population has been left without access to gas masks, as Israelis scramble to prepare for potential retaliation by Syria if the U.S. moves forward with an expected attack on the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, as a response to its use of chemical weapons.

MK Gilad Erdan, Israel’s Communications Minister, who is responsible for Israel’s postal authority, which distributes the gas mask kits and atropine syringes used as an antidote to some chemical weapons, called a meeting for late Wednesday with representatives of the Home Front Command and the National Emergency Authority for a new assessment of what preparations are still required, Israel’s Channel 10 reported.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Home Front Command call center lines collapsed due to the high number of inquiries for the gas mask kits. In Jerusalem, a distribution center was mobbed, and gas mask kits were looted, while in Sharon, Israelis rioted and the Army requested police to help restore order.

MK Eli Yishai, joint leader of the Shas party, and former Interior Minister, said funding to prepare Israelis for any war or unconventional terrorist attack, had been completely cut, and called on the government to fund production of more gas mask kits. The Jerusalem Post reported that NIS 1.3 billion ($364 million) is required to supply the 40% of Israeli’s who don’t have gas masks, in addition to NIS 300 million ($84 million) for maintaining and refurbishing them every year.

“We all hear the winds from the north, and this obligates the government to approve the funding in the relevant section,” MK Yishai told Channel 10, adding that, in the absence of more kits, the government should prioritize distribution to areas where the risk is greater.

MK Reuven Rivlin of Likud, a former Chairman of the Knesset, said: “There was a failure and now [the government] is working to create affordable kits, but the ultimate responsibility is on the State of Israel. Until a year ago, the state budget supported the production and distribution of kits, but in the last budget the state participation was zero due to economic and social distress.”

On Sunday, the Israel Postal Company said its call centers have been inundated with inquiries for gas mask kits that protect the user from many of the harmful toxins used in chemical weapons, with four times the number of calls, and a three-fold increase in orders. Normally, 2,000 kits are distributed in Israel each day.

The increased concern comes as U.S.-led Western armies have increased their rhetoric calling for a military response after Syrian rebel forces fighting the regime of President Assad claimed the regime used chemical weapons in an attack on a rebel stronghold, in a suburb outside of Damascus, last week.

14 Comments

  • There are Christians in the United States who would like to send Israel gas masks. Why doesn’t the Israeli government request them?

  • How long will it be before the Ezek 37 war will start.
    Greetings
    Joha

  • As ‘Mr. Entertainment’ Steve Allen lamented in 1992 and again in 2002 (shortly after his death) the United States of America is suffering from a ‘DUMBTH’ epidemic.

    Arguably the best-educated, most-civilized culture on the planet, what fool believes Israel is immune?

  • please stop overblowing the situation.
    There is no “possible” syrian attack. It will never happen.
    why?

    1…simply because syria is surrendered from all sides.

    2…ALL arab countries are against syria, except iran

    3…Assad now worries about his own safety

    4…if he fires one single missile towards Israel, he himself will become Israel’s and US target .

    I expect him to run for his own life very soon…

  • What good is a healthy budget when everyone is dead?

  • Anthony Dayton

    We here have no idea about Israel’s economy and the toll that defending it against a hostile world exacts,and really, it’s a moot point for the family who has no masks. Remember too, that the mask is no iron shield – it won’t help defend against rocket hits and other weapons. The Israelis have enough to worry about. When I recently visited the Golan Heights, I saw that the equipment was well serviced – no luxury in the quarters and base either. Some of the uniforms were well-worn and the glamour had long since been laundered.

    How about Algemeiner setting up a fund for the express purpose of raising donations for the purchase of gas masks, perhaps partnering with the JNF, B’nai Brith, and so on. Then we would all do something constructive. I’ll be glad to make the first donation.

  • If Syria retaliates to an American attack and Israelis die as a result, there should be hell to pay for those responsive for cutting funds so necessary to protect Israeli citizens against gas attacks. Did the budget cutters take leave of their senses?

  • With modern warfare, it’s one thing for Israel to cut unneeded military assets. Not having enough gas masks is inexcuseble and criminal.

  • With the billions in aid Israel gets from the States each year, one would think there would be some cash left to supply each of its citizens with a gas mask.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Arts and Culture Middle East Hamas Commander Reportedly Urges Hezbollah to Join Forces Against Israel

    Hamas Commander Reportedly Urges Hezbollah to Join Forces Against Israel

    JNS.org – Five months after Israeli forces tried to assassinate Hamas military commander Mohammed Deif in Gaza, Deif appears to have signed a letter that the terrorist group claims he wrote in hiding. The letter, addressed to Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah, expressed Deif’s condolences for the death of Hezbollah terrorists during Sunday’s reported Israeli airstrike in Syria. Deif is said to have survived multiple assassination attempts, but he has not been seen in public for years. According to the Hezbollah-linked Al-Manar [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Theater Shlomo Carlebach Musical Has the Soul to Heal Frayed Race Relations

    Shlomo Carlebach Musical Has the Soul to Heal Frayed Race Relations

    JNS.org – The cracks that had been simply painted over for so long began to show in Ferguson, Mo., in November 2014, but in truth they had begun to open wide much earlier—on Saturday, July 13, 2013. That is when a jury in Sanford, Fla., acquitted George Zimmerman of culpability for the death of a 17-year-old black man, Trayvon Martin. The cracks receded from view over time, as other news obscured them. Then came the evening of Aug. 9, 2014, [...]

    Read more →
  • Theater US & Canada ‘Homeland’ Season Finale Stirs Controversy After Comparing Menachem Begin to Taliban Leader

    ‘Homeland’ Season Finale Stirs Controversy After Comparing Menachem Begin to Taliban Leader

    A controversial scene in the season finale of Homeland sparked outrage by comparing former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin to a fictional Taliban leader, the UK’s Daily Mail reported. In the season 4 finale episode, which aired on Dec. 21, CIA black ops director Dar Adal, played by F. Murray Abraham, justifies a deal he made with a Taliban leader by referencing Begin. He makes the remarks in a conversation with former CIA director Saul Berenson, a Jewish character played by Mandy [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Spirituality/Tradition Placing Matisyahu Back Within a Life of Observance

    Placing Matisyahu Back Within a Life of Observance

    Shining Light on Fiction During the North Korea-Sony saga, we learned two important lessons. The first is that there are two sides to this story, and neither of them are correct because ultimately we should have neither inappropriate movies nor dictators. The second is that we cannot remain entirely fixed on the religious world, but we also must see beyond the external, secular view of reality. It’s important to ground our Torah-based thoughts into real-life activism. To view our act [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Nine Decades of Moses at the Movies

    Nine Decades of Moses at the Movies

    JNS.org – Hollywood has had its share of big-budget biblical flops, but until now, the Exodus narrative has not been among them. Studios have brought Moses to the big screen sparingly, but in ways that defined the image and character of Moses for each generation of audiences. The first biblical epic In 1923, director Cecil B. DeMille left it to the American public to decide the subject of his next movie for Paramount. DeMille received a letter from a mechanic [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Exodus on Screen (REVIEW)

    Exodus on Screen (REVIEW)

    JNS.org – The story of the Exodus from Egypt is a tale as old as time itself, to borrow a turn of phrase. It’s retold every Passover, both at the seder table and whenever “The Ten Commandments” is aired on television. But the latest adaptation—Ridley Scott’s epic film, “Exodus: Gods and Kings”—fails to meet expectations. Scott’s “Exodus” alters the source material to service the story and ground the tale, but the attempt to reinvent the biblical narrative becomes laughable. Moses [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Lifestyle ‘Jewish Food Movement’ Comes of Age

    ‘Jewish Food Movement’ Comes of Age

    JNS.org - In December 2007, leaders of the Hazon nonprofit drafted seven-year goals for what they coined as the “Jewish Food Movement,” which has since been characterized by the increased prioritization of healthy eating, sustainable agriculture, and food-related activism in the Jewish community. What do the next seven years hold in store? “One thing I would like to see happen in the next seven years is [regarding] the issue of sugar, soda, and obesity, [seeing] what would it be like to rally the [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Education Seeds of ‘Start-Up Nation’ Cultivated by Israel Sci-Tech Schools

    Seeds of ‘Start-Up Nation’ Cultivated by Israel Sci-Tech Schools

    JNS.org – Forget the dioramas. How about working on an Israeli Air Force drone? That’s exactly the kind of beyond-their-years access enjoyed by students at the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) industrial vocational high school run by Israel Sci-Tech Schools, the largest education network in the Jewish state. More than 300 students (250 on the high school level and 68 at a two-year vocational academy) get hands-on training in the disciplines of aviation mechanics, electricity and energy control, and unmanned air [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.