JERUSALEM, Nov. 12 (UPI) -- Israel's defense establishment is considering halting the distribution of gas masks because threats of a chemical attack have decreased, officials said.
While a decision on the issue had yet to be made by the government, recommendations by the defense establishment calling for a halt to gas mask distribution stems from budget constraints and Syria's agreement to disarm its chemical stockpiles, Israel Radio reported Tuesday.
Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon is expected to present the recommendations to the government in the coming weeks, Ynetnews.com said. Yaalon is relying on intelligence assessments that chances of a chemical weapons attack on Israel have greatly decreased since Syria agreed to disarm its stockpiles, a Channel 2 report said Monday night.
About 60 percent of the Israeli population has obtained gas masks since the government began distributing them about five years ago, Haaretz reported.
In August, civilians rushed to gas mask distribution centers when a report of a possible U.S. air strike on Syrian chemical weapons arsenals was considered. Israelis feared at the time Syria would attack the Jewish state in response to air strikes.