....you receive a notice in the mail that it's time to pick up your gas mask at your local distribution center or post office. Yes, you read that correctly. The threat of biological warfare in this part of the world became a pressing reality in recent weeks due to the slew of headlines highlighting Syria's possession of biological and chemical weapons, which if were to get into the wrong hands could pose a serious threat to Israel and its people.
Before you get completely freaked out by the notion that we must collect gas masks here, think to yourself just for a second that every single place on Earth has some sort of concern to deal with. Earthquakes in southern California, blizzards and ice storms back east, tornadoes in the midwest, hurricanes in the southeast and the threat of terrorist attacks in major cities throughout the world. In Israel, the possibility of a biological war is a threat that they have had to deal with and thus, the preparation of gas masks is a natural response which will - fingers crossed - never need to be used. It's a safety net, just like someone's earthquake or tornado kit.
Something else every house has here is a bomb shelter. And yes, our house has one too. There is always one bedroom, by law, that is impermeable to a bomb's blast and has a special metal closing that shuts tightly over a deeply set window so as to truly enclose you inside. Scary, yes; but, it's all a part of living here in Israel. Just know, though, that for the most part, we don't have to use these things. Sure, we have occasional practice drills for a hypothetical bomb, but don't they do the very same drills for earthquakes, tornadoes and hurricanes in other parts of the world? Yes, they do.
Most people get freaked out by the notion of bomb shelters and gas masks, but it's more of a precaution than a reality that locals need to face. Thus, the main purpose of this post is for local Israelis who I would encourage to run out get their gas masks because I've read there's a limited supply and that nearly 45% of Israelis will be without their supply. First come, first served. Be safe out there!