How Israel is responding to terrorist attacks: recognizing that armed police/military can’t protect everywhere

Nov 18, 2014 | Featured

The horrible death today at Har Nof Shul left five people dead and others wounded.  Israel’s Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch, who has been pushing for ever tighter gun control laws, has announced some easing of controls, letting some people carry with them all the time, even in sensitive places (see also here and here).  Meanwhile, many Israelis are speaking out for a return to previous policies.

Former Jerusalem Police Chief Aryeh Amit

Every citizen who has a gun should carry it. The way the government has been handling the escalation in attacks is not satisfactory and one cannot be surprised that attacks continue for the matter is not being handled as it should be.

The policy making it close to impossible to get a legal handgun today is nothing more than hysteria and it does nothing to better the situation.

There is an enormous amount of illegal handguns in the Arab and criminal sectors but my son who is a paratrooper cannot get a gun permit. We live in the Mideast here, not Hawaii and citizens should be able to get a weapon. Those who have one must carry it everywhere.

From ABC News:

“Every one, everywhere is in danger,” said Yitzhak Heshing, who was injured in Tuesday’s attack. “Not just in Jerusalem but everywhere. I think that what is happening is a very crazy situation.” . . .

Heshing, who was being treated for his wounds Tuesday in the same Jerusalem hospital where he works as a doctor, said that his sense of security was in tatters following the attack.

“Everyone needs to carry a gun,” he said. “I don’t know. Personally I think I’ll need to carry a weapon.” . . .

Israel’s regulations were described last year in the Forward, a Jewish daily.

In Israel, carrying a gun is not a right granted by the constitution, but rather a privilege given to those few who pass background checks and who can demonstrate a real need for possessing firearms.

The list of requirements is long. Israelis seeking to own a gun need to be a citizen or permanent resident over the age of 27 (or 21 for those who have completed military service). They must have a basic knowledge of Hebrew. Applicants for a gun permit also need to show a clean criminal record and to have the Ministry of Health certify that they are physically and mentally capable of using a gun. . . .

UPDATE: Jerusalem Post has this on the new regulations

. . . Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch approved the guidelines during a meeting he held on Wednesday night with officials from the Israel Police and his ministry’s branch that approves firearm permits. . . .

The guidelines will add Jerusalem and 41 other cities, towns and local councils, to the list of areas considered “high-risk” or “high-priority,” such as including West Bank settlements, where residency can make it easier to receive a permit if one meets other criteria.

In addition, security firms can now let guards take their firearms home at the end of their shifts.

Soldiers who served in certain elite combat units; any reserve officer of any rank; and firearms shooting instructors will be able to get permits.

People with older state-issued firearms can swap them for newer guns, and the police security branch commander can authorize on a case by case basis the carrying of military grade firearms.

Aharonovitch said, “The decision to ease the restriction stems from recent events and the need to strengthen the sense of security among the general population and due to the recent terrorist attacks that have struck us.

Issuing permits will be done responsibly and with scrutiny and discretion, and in keeping with the approved criteria.” . . .