Israel to stop most gas mask production

Israel will halt almost all of its gas mask production because of a decline in the threat of a gas or chemical attack.

The decision, according to Haaretz, comes a year after the Defense Ministry decided to reduce production and stop distributing gas masks to Israel’s civilian population. Now, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon has also decided to halt gas mask production for the Israel Defense Forces. First responders will still receive gas masks.

Israel restarted mass distribution of gas masks in 2013 in response to the threat of a chemical weapons attack from Syria. But Syria’s agreement later in the year to dispose of its chemical weapons stock sharply reduced that threat. Syria completed the disposal process in June. When Israel stopped distributing masks to civilians, 60 percent of Israelis were estimated to have gas masks. — jta