Gas mask production in Israel is to cease almost completely, under a decision approved by Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon that is expected to be confirmed soon by the inner cabinet.
Haaretz reports that the decision is based on the significant decline in the threat of a chemical weapon attack by Syria as a result of the eradication of that country’s stocks of chemical arms in an operation that began in 2013 and was completed in June.
About a year ago, in response to the reduced threat and as an economy measure, the out of a desire to save money, the inner cabinet approved a proposal by Ya’alon to end the distribution of gas masks to civilians and reduce production to the amounts needed by the army and emergency responders. A provision in that resolution called for reevaluating the issue in a year’s time.
Haaretz reports that Ya’alon has now decided to stop making gas masks for soldiers as well, aside from a small number that will continue to be issued to first responders. Those masks are of a higher quality than the ones issued to civilians.