Purim comes one month early for some children in Israel, after a reported attack on a Syrian convey set off a rush for gas masks.
As one Twitter user wrote:
— AmericanInTelAviv (@LivingInTelAviv) January 30, 2013
The children’s gas mask pictured above is a newer model abbreviated "Mamtak," interesting because the work "mamtakim" in Hebrew means sweets or candy.
This could either be a coincidence or a small opportunity for Israel’s Home Front Command to "sweeten" the ordeal of bracing for biological warfare. If the latter were true, Israel wouldn’t the first country to make gas mask time fun for kids. Check out these Mickey Mouse masks, one of 1,000 manufactured post-Pearl Harbor:
On January 7th, 1942, one month after Pearl Harbor, TW Smith, Jr., the owner of the Sun Rubber Company, and his designer, Dietrich Rempel, with Walt Disney’s approval Introduced a protective mask for children. This design of the Mickey Mouse Gas Mask for children was presented to Major General William N. Porter, Chief of the Chemical Warfare Service. After approval of the CWS, Sun Rubber Products Company produced sample masks for review. Other comic book character designs were to follow, Depending on the success of the Mickey Mouse mask.
Israel itself is no stranger to teaching kids the ABC’s of wartime preparedness. During the Gulf War, Rehov Soomsoom, Israel’s Sesame Street, showed Big Bird counterpart Kipi Kipod boasting to a Sabra Oscar the Grouch about having learned to put on a gas mask by himself: