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Monday, July 05, 2010

Home Front: Gas mask distribution a failure

I've mentioned before that we were fortunate that Mrs. Carl happened to get gas masks for our family at the place where she has to go for work from time to time, but that my sense was that most people were not geting their gas masks. I also mentioned that the IDF wanted to start charging for the gas masks.

The latest news is that the gas mask distribution has officially been declared a failure by the IDF Home Front Command. At most, they will distribute enough gas masks for 70% of the population, and they are telling everyone else to go fend for themselves.
Golan encouraged citizens with gas masks to go out and by their own. "Sometimes it falls upon the citizen [to protect themselves] and not the state," he said.

In the meantime, the IDF Home Front Command has prioritized distribution of the masks to first responders and service providers who will have to provide assistance to others hurt during any future attack.

The Jerusalem Post learned last month that the IDF Home Front Command was working on a plan to develop a special siren for non-conventional missiles that would sound in the event of a chemical or biological attack.

The possibility of using two different sirens during a future conflict – one for conventional missiles and the other for missiles carrying non-conventional warheads – came up during the nationwide civil defense exercise that was held in May called Turning Point 4.
In theory, I don't have a problem with paying. There are two issues: First, are there going to be enough gas masks available in a timely manner at any price (Golan implies that the problem is budgetary but is that the case?). Second, what happens to families like many of my neighbors who have eight, nine and ten kids (and more) and no money to pay? Maybe the government should be handing out gas masks for free on a needs basis, and require payment from those who can afford it. NIS 220 times ten or twelve is a lot of money for a family whose monthly income is less than NIS 10,000.

Arutz Sheva adds:
Golan said that the Home Front Command is working on another plan, which will rely on the local authorities to operate public emergency centers in protected spaces. These spaces would also serve as refuges for people whose homes were hit by missiles.

However, Brigadier General Ze'ev Tzuk-Ram, Head of the National Emergency Authority, said that local authority chiefs do not have the means to take care of the safety of their residents either. “There is some sort of disconnect. We have the central government in Jerusalem, there are the districts and the local authority and there is no clear continuity of responsibility from the government to the local authority.”

Tzuk-Ram also blamed the general Israeli mentality for the lack of readiness. People tend to trust that things will work out, rather than actually prepare their families for emergency scenarios, he explained.

Ashkelon Mayor Benny Vaknin said that some schools and kindergartens in Ashkelon still have no fortification against attack. “There have not been massive attacks or missile barrages on Ashkelon,” he said. “If we had to operate at several centers (...) simultaneously we would not be able to handle it. We do not have the means.”

The fire brigade, too, he said, is in “catastrophic” shape.
That's really not good. Hezbullah and hamas have tens of thousands of rockets, and the likelihood that we will see a massive bombardment, especially in the early stages of a war - God forbid - are quite high.

Unfortunately, the way this country works, it is far more likely that we're already seeing the groundwork for the next post-war Commission of Inquiry (into the Home Front Command's activities) than it is that we are seeing a problem being raised that is going to be resolved.


At 1:06 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

This government doesn't care about Jewish lives - as long as the elite - Israel's vlasti are protected, the rest of the population can go fend for themselves. Its inexcusable a rich country like Israel can't protect all of its citzens. We've heard the excuse of poverty from the Israeli government before... in protecting southern Israel from Hamas rockets. It told folks to live with it. I guess that's going to be its stock response if another Middle East war breaks out in the future.


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