Nearly half of all Israelis will not possess gas masks and protective kits if and when an enemy launches an unconventional attack against the Jewish state, Israel's Ynet news portal reported on Monday.
Israel's Home Front Command says it has only 400,000 gas masks left, and will distribute them on a first come, first serve basis over the coming months. At the end of that distribution, some 55 percent of the Israeli population will be protected.
Officials said that there simply is not budget to cover the $318 million it would cost to produce gas masks for the other 45 percent of Israelis. And even if there was, it would take two years to produce that many masks and protective kits.
And Israel may not have two more years before such an attack occurs.
There is growing fear that if the regime of Syrian dictator Bashar Assad falls, its chemical and biological weapons stockpile will fall into the hands of Hizballah and other Islamic terror groups dedicated to destroying Israel.
During the last Israel-Lebanon war in 2006, Hizballah fired thousands of missiles into northern Israel. It is widely assumed that if the group possessed unconventional warheads, it would not hesitate to use them against the Jewish state.
With the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, it is also estimated that Hamas terrorist forces in neighboring Gaza will soon have easier access to more deadly weapons with which to attack southern and central Israel.