On October 8th, Israeli Minister of National Security Itamar Ben-Gvir released the following statement.
“Today I directed the Firearms Licensing Division to go on an emergency operation in order to allow as many citizens as possible to arm themselves. The plan will take effect within 24 hours. . . .
Any citizen who meets the detailed tests for carrying a private firearm due to self-defense and serving the security forces and is without a criminal or medical record will be required to undergo a telephone interview instead of a physical interview and will be able to receive permission to carry a firearm within a week,” Ben-Gvir said. “(Self-defense tests: residence in an eligible settlement, rifle veterans 07 and above, officers in the rank of lieutenant and above and combatants in the rank of major and above in the IDF and the security forces, service in special units, firefighters, policemen, and workers and volunteers in the rescue forces).”Israeli Minister of National Security Itamar Ben-Gvir on Twitter, Sunday, October 8, 2023. Google Translate
Israel has a long ways to go in increasing the number of concealed handgun permit holders. In 2022, 148,000 Israelis were permitted to carry guns (down from the 340,000 permit holders in 2002). There are 7,181,000 Jews in Israel, with a relatively young population (28% of Israelis are between 0 and 14). So let’s say that 60% of Israeli Jews are 21-years-old and older, implying 4.3 million adult Jews. That implies that just 3.4% of adult Israeli Jews have a permit to carry. By contrast, 8.5% of American adults have permits. Outside of the restrictive states of California and New York, about 10.2% of adults have a permit. And these numbers don’t even account for the fact that there are now 27 Constitutional Carry states where it isn’t necessary to have a permit to carry.
After Arab-Jewish riots in May 2021, there was increase in the number of applications for permits, but it was still well below the US rate.
Here is a prophetic September 20th, 2023 article in the Jerusalem Post.
The Israel Police spokesperson suggested that Jews should carry weapons on Yom Kippur in a Tuesday press statement.
The recommendation came in a message regarding police preparedness as the approach of the Jewish High Holy Days brings increased security risk in a Tuesday press statement.
As part of the measures that the public should take, he emphasized was for citizens to carry weapons and be trained in their use. . . .
However, keeping the public safe, Levi advances, involves the active participation of the public in their own personal safety. That is, the public should carry weapons, he says.
“Today,” Levi said, “we reiterate the call of the Chief of Police and the Head of Operations and call on the public to carry weapons and be trained in their use when necessary, to bear their weapons during these days, even in places of prayer and family entertainment.” . . .
Opposition leader Yair Lapid objected to calls for citizens to carry weapons in synagogues in a pair of posts on X, formerly Twitter, on Wednesday. . . .Jerusalem Post Staff, “Israelis should carry guns on Yom Kippur, police say,” Jerusalem Post, September 20, 2023.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had already proposed increasing the number of permit holders.
Following a deadly terror attack in Jerusalem last month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that his government will loosen restrictions on private gun ownership in Israel and expand the licensing of weapons for thousands of civilians. Netanyahu mentioned examples in which armed citizens or off-duty soldiers used their weapons to stop terrorists and save lives. . . .Sam Sokol, “‘We Don’t Want to Be Like America’: Will Israel’s Government Adopt New Gun Laws?,” Haaretz, February 5th, 2023.
“There are currently about 6.5 million people living in Israel. Of those, 81 percent are Jews and 63 percent are over twenty years of age. Arabs are restricted from obtaining concealed handgun permits. At the time of this writing Israel had 340,000 handgun permit holders, though they were planning on issuing 40,000 more permits (“Army Issuing 40,000 Handgun Permits,” IsraelNN.com, 6 March 2002.”