In Israel, the requirements for gun ownership are to be relaxed. – Politics

In Israel, the requirements for gun ownership are to be relaxed.  – Politics

The startling message for Shabbat came from the Israeli police rabbi this weekend. All believers should also carry their weapons on the Jewish day of rest, Rabbi Rami Brachyahu demanded in an open letter – and “especially”, he added, “also during prayer times in the synagogue”.

Israel is on alert for a never-ending series of terrorist attacks. The attack in front of a synagogue in the East Jerusalem settlement of Neve Yaakov at the end of January particularly upset the country. Seven people were shot dead. They were defenseless until the police arrived and killed the Palestinian assassin. Armed prayer is intended to enable faster averting of danger in the future, and with his appeal the police rabbi is intervening in a discussion that is currently gaining momentum in Israel.

Itamar Ben-Gvir, the far-right Minister for National Security, is primarily responsible for this. He can hardly be considered a role model for the responsible use of firearms. He has repeatedly drawn attention to the fact that he drew his pistol in public because he felt threatened by Palestinian demonstrators or even by a park ranger. Now he is using the attacks as an opportunity to press ahead with arming other sections of the population. “I want more guns on the streets so that Israel’s citizens can defend themselves,” he said.

In some West Bank settlements, around a third of residents carry guns

Even if visitors to Israel can quickly get the impression that the country is already bursting with weapons because of the many visible security forces, the legal requirements for civilians have been very strict up to now. Anyone who wants to acquire a license must prove their suitability by means of a medical certificate, a personal interview and weapons training, and also prove that they need protection because of their work or place of residence.

The latter means that in some settlements in the West Bank around a third of the residents carry weapons. In Tel Aviv or Jerusalem it’s only 1.5 percent. At the bottom of the statistics are the places where ultra-Orthodox Jews and Arab Israelis live, although there have long been complaints about a flood of illegal weapons in the Arab sector.

Almost 150,000 Israelis currently have a gun license, which must be renewed every three years. Ben-Gvir has now announced that it will increase the number of permits from the current 2,000 per month to 10,000. To this end, the legal requirements are to be relaxed and the number of staff in the registration offices increased significantly.

However, critics fear that this could ultimately lead to American conditions – not to more protection, but on the contrary to even more violence. The dangers are not only seen in terrorism, but also within Israeli society. Since the right-wing religious government took office, tensions have increased to such an extent that former Secretary of Defense Benny Gantz and others are now warning of an imminent civil war.

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