Israel to Stop Distributing Gas Masks After February, Inner Cabinet Decides

The decision will be reviewed at the end of the year, following a new assessment by defense authorities.

Israel will discontinue the distribution of gas masks to the public at the end of February, the security cabinet decided on Sunday.

The decision was taken in accordance with the assessment of the defense establishment that the danger of a chemical attack against Israel had declined substantially – primarily due to Syria's decommissioning of its chemical weapons.

The manufacture of gas masks will continue at a reduced pace after February, the Prime Minister's Bureau said in a statement, but they will be for the use of emergency teams only and won't be distributed to the public.

The decision will be reviewed at the end of the year, following a new assessment by the defense establishment.

Israeli authorities have handed out gas masks since the country was hit by Iraqi Scud missiles during the 1991 Gulf War, though Syria's chemical arsenal was Israel's primary concern in recent years.