In an effort to alleviate the budgetary pressure stemming from the free distribution of gas masks, the IDF's Home Front Command has suggested that some segments of the population pay for them, Ynet has learned.
According to the suggested model, only children under eight years of age and some 200,000 citizens who are in the lower economic brackets will receive the masks for free, while all other Israelis will pay NIS 220 (about $60) for their individual protection kits.
An official document detailing the plan has been handed over to Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai.
Hundreds of thousands of Israelis have received their gas masks since the Israel Postal Company began distributing them in early April, but the IDF says there is still a 30-40% gap between the number of gas masks needed and the number of masks that have already been manufactured. The estimated cost of producing the remaining masks is NIS 1.3 billion ($340 million.)
Senior IDF officials have called to resolve the issue by increasing the budget or changing the existing policy.
The Home Front Command began drafting the document presenting the new plan at the conclusion of "Turning Point 4", Israel's largest-ever home front drill. The army estimates 70% of the public will purchase the individual protection kits.