The Israeli cabinet will vote in the coming weeks on whether suspend the distribution of gas masks to civilians following the dramatic reduction in Syrian chemical weapons stockpiles.
Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon has already endorsed the recommendation of Israel’s defence chiefs that there is no need to continue distributing gas masks. Their view is that, with a strong military deterrent in place and the agreement of the Assad regime to dismantle its chemical arsenal, the threat to Israel’s population has dramatically decreased.
The annual cost of maintaining gas masks for all Israelis is estimated at over NIS 1 billion (£176m).
The Syrian regime has signed an agreement to dismantle its entire chemical weapons capability within 12 months. Senior Israeli security officials have called the agreement “a major achievement for Israel”.