Israel will begin distributing its entire population with gas masks in two months, though no reason has officially been given by the Israeli government.
No indication or threat has been made against Israel from any country that an attack is planned. No country in the Middle East is believed to be likely to engage in chemical or biological warfare with Israel, either.
The gas mask distribution has, however, raised questions as to Israel’s potential plans to launch an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities. Such an attack could cause an unconventional response from Iran. Iran’s chemical and biological weapons capabilities are currently not known.
Rumors in the Middle East abound that Israel is preparing to rein in Hezbollah through another war on Lebanon. Hezbollah, however, is also not believed to hold any chemical or biological weapons.
The only country in Israel’s region currently believed to have access to a major chemical or biological weapons program is Israel itself, though the country unlikely to utilize them in an attack.
Despite the lack of a viable threat, Israel will begin issuing the gas masks to each of its residents in February. The Israel Defense Forces will manage the distribution. The IDF have engaged the Israel Postal Company to aid in the distribution, a departure from the use of Home Front Command for previous distributions.
In addition to the gas masks, children eight years and younger will receive, for the first time, the Mamtek gas mask.
“We are the only country in the world that produces gas masks for children, and the children’s gas mask we produce is the only one in the world that supplies prime defense for this age group,” Col. Yosi Sagiv,head of the Gas Mask Administration of the Home Front Command, told bacelonanews.net. “All that is left is to hope that it will not be necessary to experience first hand how well these gas masks work,” he said.