Gov't. to Redistribute Gas Masks

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CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - On Wednesday, the Israeli Cabinet announced it will distribute refurbished gas masks to residents of Israel in early 2009.

The decision comes after months of wavering over whether to redistribute kits providing protection from biological and chemical weapons.

The Defense Ministry retracted an earlier decision in view of threats of a chemical attack from Syria and Iran.

Member of Knesset (MK) Yuval Steinitz (Likud), former chairman of the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, criticized the plan's vagaries.

"The Cabinet's decision to upgrade the kits without clearly setting any deadlines is a farce that repeats all the mistakes made in the neglect of the home front during the Second Lebanon War. I can already see the committee of inquiry into the next war, and it will be far worse than Winograd [the commission investigating the Second Lebanon War]," Steinitz said, adding that upgraded kits should be distributed to army reservists so they ready in the event of a call-up.

The Home Front Command is slated to hold the largest-ever nationwide emergency drill next week.

Sources: YNet news, The Jerusalem Post

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