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The gas mask distribution scandal is not new. The masks, first given to the public in 1990 ahead of the first Gulf War, were collected in 2007, when the army decided the old masks would provide little protection in a time of need.

A year ago the home front command began giving out new masks. The number - enough for about half the population - was predetermined by the budget.

Although the cabinet resolved to protect all citizens, nothing has been done and the project did not get one extra shekel. Israel Defense Forces sources note with concern that Syria's chemical weapons have been improving in recent years, but Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai argues the chances of a chemical attack are small and notes there have been few precedents.

The question here is either or: Either there's a real risk of chemical weapons being deployed against Israeli citizens, and the state must protect everyone, or the risk is laughably small, and then the state should tell its citizens it decided to take a calculated risk and save on this project's enormous cost.