This is coolbert:
Preparation for WAR - - or routine precautionary measure!!??
"Israel Preparing for WMD"
[Thanks here to Newsmax.]
Israel is again preparing it's citizens for the possibility of biological and chemical attack?
Taking back all the gas masks [presumably old filters too] that were originally issued just prior to the First Gulf War of 1991.
"The Israeli army in recent months has collected hundreds of thousands of gas masks it had distributed to civilians following the outbreak of the 1991 Gulf War"
The Israeli military is conducting a campaign to educated the civilian populace HOW TO protect themselves against WMD attack [Weapons of Mass Destruction].
"Information will be provided in a guidebook to be distributed to every household, as well as through television broadcasts, a Web site, and a telephone information center."
I do recall very well the issuance of the civilian version of the gas mask that did occur just prior to the commencement of the First Gulf War. A cheap and dirty but effective protective mask, with removable and disposable filter. NOW being replaced by an improved version mask and filter?
Originally, ONLY Jewish citizens of Israel were given the masks. Belatedly and after some protest, so too were the Arab citizens of Israel also issued the same masks.
It is not so much the masks that need replacing as the filters. Are normally sealed in a plastic bag ONLY to be opened when needed. The filter itself has a shelf life of ten years when in the bag, and considerably less than that when taken out of the bag and exposed to the air. EVEN WHEN NOT PROTECTING AGAINST CHEMICAL OR BIOLOGICAL AGENTS, THE FILTERS ABSORB MOISTURE FROM THE AIR THAT TENDS TO SEVERELY DEGRADE THEIR USEFULNESS.
A lot of education is needed for these masks to be used properly by the general populace. Gives you a false sense of security UNLESS used right. The Israeli is obviously aware of this and taking proper measures IN ADVANCE!
BUT, please do not read too much into this. Maybe is more routine than anything else!