Israel’s Security Cabinet expected to halt gas mask distribution

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s Security Cabinet is expected to recommend that the distribution of gas masks to the civilian public be halted.

Senior defense officials on Monday recommended to the Cabinet that the production and distribution of gas masks to the general public be stopped due to the decrease in the threat from Syria, which is in the process of dismantling its chemical weapons infrastructure and the weapons themselves, under the direction of international observers.

Some 40 percent of Israelis currently do not have gas mask kits.

Thousands of Israelis snapped up new gas mask kits over the summer, when the threat of a Syrian chemical attack appeared to be high.

Tens of thousands of the gas mask kits remain and could be distributed through March 2014, according to Haaretz. There is no provision in the 2014 budget for manufacturing additional gas masks.

The Cabinet is expected to make a decision by the end of the week, according to reports.