Israel not prepared for chemical attack

Israel is not ready in the event of a chemical attack, a leading defense official has warned, according to a recent story in The Jerusalem Post.

The newspaper reported this month that the military has an inadequate supply of gas masks for a program that would distribute them to the public.

“We are ill-prepared for a chemical threat due to the lack of gas masks,” Col. Hilik Sofer, head of the Home Front Command’s Population Branch, told the newspaper. “We have so far distributed just more than 300,000 gas masks, but there is what to improve.”

The military lacks 40 percent of the gas masks needed to equip the public, the newspaper reported.

Former IDF spokesman Kadima MK Nachman Shai told The Jerusalem Post that the Israeli government is not giving the Defense Ministry adequate funding to carry out the safety mission.

“The threat on the home front is growing and we now know that the entire country is vulnerable to missile attacks,” Nachman told The Jerusalem Post. “Nevertheless, the government is refraining from allocating the billion shekels needed to complete the refurbishment and distribution of gas masks to the public.”

Sofer said that, in spite of the gas mask availability program, nationwide drills simulating an attack that were held recently showed great success.

“We have significantly improved since last year, particularly when it comes to cooperation with local councils,” Sofer said. “There is still more to improve with regard to cooperation between different emergency services and the warning systems that we have deployed throughout the country.”