Today's Coming Crisis Movie

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Israelis prepare amid fear of Iran war

Larissa, a 66-year-old manager at an Israeli investment company, waited in line last week at a Tel Aviv youth centre to get a gas mask, one of tens of thousands of Israelis rushing to pick up such protective kits in recent weeks.

Amid media speculation that Israel may carry out a strike on Iran’s nuclear sites and possibly prompt a regional war, the number of Israelis collecting state-funded gas masks has quadrupled from 17,000 in April to 70,000 in July, according to the military.

As she prepared to take the box from the postal workers charged with the distribution of the masks, Larissa, who did not want her last name to be published, said: “I am afraid – I don’t believe an attack will happen but I’d like to have the mask just in case.”

As speculation in Israel persists about a possible air strike on Iran’s nuclear sites, Israeli citizens – who polls show do not support an attack unless it is backed by the US, the country’s staunchest ally – are getting prepared.

Israel regards the Iranian nuclear programme as an existential threat and has said repeatedly that it will not permit the development of an Iranian nuclear bomb. Iran insists that its programme serves only civilian purposes – a claim widely disputed by western governments. Washington has urged Israel to give diplomacy and sanctions on Iran more time. On Thursday, a UN report showed that Iran has doubled the number of uranium enrichment machines it has in an underground bunker. more