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Sunday, June 20, 2010

Good news: You may soon have to pay for your gas masks

The IDF wants to start charging people NIS 220 per gas mask rather than giving them out for free as has been done until now.
Until now, the government has paid for and distributed gas masks to the public. This was the case ahead of the 1991 First Gulf War, as well as in 2003 ahead of the American invasion of Iraq. Most recently, the Defense Ministry collected the public’s gas masks and has been in the process of refurbishing and distributing them via the Israel Postal Company, which won a tender last year.

According to the new plan, drafted by OC Home Front Command Maj.-Gen. Yair Golan, the Defense Ministry will only be responsible for distributing gas masks to children up to age eight, as well as to people below the poverty line, estimated by the defense establishment to be under 200,000.
It's not clear to me whether that 200,000 is meant to be NIS 200,000 in annual income (the poverty line is far lower) or more likely, 200,000 people below the poverty line (even if you remove all the kids under age 8, that number should be much higher).
Each gas mask will cost an estimated NIS 220, and if the plan is approved, they will be available for purchase throughout the country. The reason the IDF wants to continue to distribute gas masks for children is that they are larger kits that operate on batteries and require special attention.

Golan recently presented the plan to Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilna’i, and it is under evaluation. For the plan to proceed, it will need to be approved by the government.
I don't believe there's a shot in hell of that being approved by the government. It's about as anti-populist as you can get.

But I'm still glad Mrs. Carl picked up our gas masks when she had the opportunity a few weeks ago. By the way, there are no gas masks for beards, so if we actually need to use them, my beard may be gone.


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