Man tries on gas mask (illustrative)
Man tries on gas mask (illustrative)Israel news photo: Flash 90

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu recently ordered the defense system to ensure that personal protection kits, which include gas masks, are distributed to all Israelis, Channel 10 News reported on Thursday.

Netanyahu’s order comes in the wake of reports that chemical weapons have been used in the Syrian civil war and the recent escalation along Israel’s northern border.

According to the report, only about 42% of Israelis currently possess these kits due to budgetary issues related to the financing for their distribution. Netanyahu has asked to speed up the steps that are necessary to be taken in order to quickly equip 100% of Israelis with gas masks.

In order to carry out the order, a significant investment of 1.3 billion shekels to complete the distribution of the kits, and another 300 million shekels per year for their maintenance, will be required. This will be taken from the citizens’ pockets in the form of an increase in the amounts paid to the National Insurance Institute.

Another option being examined is asking citizens to pay for the kits when they are handed out, reported Channel 10.

On Thursday, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said that despite the portrayal by the media of a deal for advanced missiles to be purchased from Russia as a future event, the fact is that Syria has already begun acquiring the S-300 missile system from Moscow.

Assad said that shipments of the S-300 system were already underway, and that some had already arrived. Relating to the possibility that Israel would attempt to eliminate the missiles once they were in Syria, Assad said that Damascus would “immediately retaliate.” He added that he would “not hesitate to arm groups that were working to liberate the Golan.”

Speaking to Hizbullah’s Al-Manar network, Assad said, “There is clear popular pressure to open a new front of resistance in the Golan. This is a political-ideological matter that will eventually turn into a military one.”