Israel is technically at war with its neighbour Syria.
The Assad regime’s threat to use chemical and biological weapons if faced with foreign intervention has raised fears there will be no holds barred if the conflict escalates.
Hence a rush on gas masks over the border.
The state-funded kits have been distributed in recent years as Israel prepares for a possible
showdown over its arch-enemy Iran’s nuclear programme. For Israelis now, the situation in Syria is the immediate concern.
“Watch a little bit over the borders and you will see what is going on there,” said Arie Zimet, as he collected a gas mask from a distribution centre inside a shopping mall in Mevasseret Zion, outside Jerusalem. “The stability definitely is not the same as it was before. So what happens in the future, I don’t know. That is why you have to be ready always.”
“There is a small of a war, of a chemical war, in the air,” said Maya Knobler, who collected masks for herself and her daughter. “So it was just the perfect time to come and to take the mask.”
Israel is also concerned that Syria’s chemical weapons could get into the hands of Hezbollah militants if the government falls. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is not ruling out military action to prevent this happening.