Israeli chix

— The phones have been ringing nonstop at the Gun Hill shooting range, following a week of daily knife attacks by Palestinians and a clarion call by Israeli politicians requesting that permit holders should carry their pistols on their hips to help protect the citizenry against terrorists.

“It’s a madhouse,” said Yair Yifrach, general manger of the training center and gun shop here at a Jewish settlement north of Jerusalem.

Perhaps not the best choice of words for a shooting range. “But people are going a little crazy,” Yifrach said.

Israelis are frightened by violent demonstrations and daily attacks by Palestinians, not only in the West Bank but also in the heart of Israel. On Monday, Palestinians staged three stabbing attacks against Israeli civilians and police in Jerusalem; two of the attackers were shot dead, Israeli police said. One victim was a 13-year-old boy.

Yifrach, a gun instructor, does not think it is a good idea to have a bunch of undertrained, anxious Israelis rushing to own guns. But he does suppolrt the idea — as do most Israelis — that civilians who are veterans of military service trained in responsible use of firearms are a “force mutiplier” on the streets.

“In truth, getting a gun permit in Israel is not easy — that’s what I tell people,” Yifrach said.


Israel is often portrayed as  really tough on crime and tough on bad-guys, with babes in bikinis carrying  Tavor assault rifles.   In reality, Israel has incredibly tough gun rules for private citizens.

Civilians must have a permit to purchase a gun and those permits are not easy to obtain.  Many would-be gun owners do not qualify for permits and must use very strong pepper spray as an alternative.   Those having permits must practice and renew their permits every 3 years.

Even in the face of increased violence, most Israelis do not want to see less stringent gun laws.  They feel it would be dangerous to have untrained Israelis running around with guns, according the article.  The WaPo continues:

At the shooting range and gun store here, the shop manager pointed out how hard it is to get a permit in Israel. Laws in the United States are far more permissive — “they’re cowboys,” he said of the Americans. In the background, the pistol fire in the sound-muffled underground shooting range sounded like a hammer pounding nails: plunk! plunk! plunk!

About 260,000 Israelis have permits to carry a firearm, or about 3.5 percent of the population. Half of the permit holders are private citizens, and half work for security firms.

Israeli applicants must submit paperwork, military records and medical reports, and must justify their need to carry a weapon. Approval takes 30 days. A resident of Tel Aviv will not be given a permit, though residents of a Jewish settlement in the West Bank will be. So will retired army officers, former police officers, firefighters, ambulance technicians, special forces vets, licensed public transportation drivers and residents of militarily strategic buffer zones, as well as those who live or work in Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem — including the Old City — and the West Bank.

Meanwhile,  as the violence increases, the civilians rely on the military and the police for their protection for the most part.   Far from the perception NRA wants us to believe, Israel has very tough gun laws, according to The Times of Israel:

Far from the image of a heavily armed population where ordinary people have their own arsenals to repel attackers, Israel allows its people to acquire firearms only if they can prove their professions or places of residence put them in danger. The country relies on its security services, not armed citizens, to prevent terror attacks.

Silly me.  I believed Wayne La Pierre.

Israel and the United States are two vastly different countries.    It’s almost ridiculous to compare the two.  Different sizes, different enemies, different rules, different cultures.  I had no idea that Israeli citizens had such tight gun restrictions.  It’s just not a place I would chose to live.  (or visit)


Further reading on Israeli gun laws


32 Thoughts to “Israel gun laws restrict civilians despite Palestinian stabbings”

  1. Steve Thomas

    It is true that Israel does have tough laws regarding private ownership of firearms, but this article is so full of holes, I don’t know where to begin:

    Israel is a country that requires almost all of it’s citizens to serve in the military. Soldiers, while on active duty, carry their weapons in public…even while wearing bikinis on the beach.

    While in a reserve status, they are required to keep their issue weapons, ammo, and gear, at home, to speed mobilization in time of emergency.

    School teachers are armed, while in the classroom, and whenever there is a field-trip. Domestic airline pilots are armed. Every Kibbutz near a border area has firearms for defense.

    Military retirees and those of the “security forces” may purchase their duty sidearms when leaving.

    Israel has strict permitting on “private weapons” ie. those that are not associated with service. However, when you consider the large segment of their adult population is either on active duty or reserves, coupled with all of the various professions which we in the US wouldn’t associate with being armed, but the Israelis do, there are indeed many firearms present in public, or in the hands of their citizens, just fewer truly “private” arms.

    There are a lot of government-issued guns in the hands of Israeli citizens, and are usually not counted in the “per-capita” surveys. What they worry about are those which are not property of the government, which may be used by terrorists, or ultra-nationalists. This is why most Israelis are comfortable with the strict permitting requirements for those who aren’t bound by some duty to protect others, but don’t forget that they have a much broader opinion of who these people are.

    1. I found I had to go from one article to another article. It was very difficult for me to piece it together so I left links. One can only cut and paste so much. I walked away with simply not being able to compare the countries. We aren’t crawling with military for starters. We also aren’t surrounded by a enemy who wants to wipe us off the face of the earth. We are huge in terms of lands. We don’t have compulsory military service (actually they don’t either but that is another story for another day.)

      You asked me yesterday or the day before why I chose an article. I had to ask myself that about this one also. I think people always point to Israel as a model for security and use the babes with M-16s as a benchmark for arms and security. There is just more than meets the eye. Thanks for piecing a lot of it together. It will save someone a lot of reading.

      I just don’t think Israel should be held up as ideal by 2A-ers or as an example of gun control. Its a totally unique situation.

  2. Steve Thomas

    and I would love to visit Israel, the Holy Land. I wouldn’t live there though. I’m too old for service, don’t speak Hebrew so teaching is out, too old for a Kibbutz, and can’t fly a plane.

    1. I would love to visit Israel if it weren’t for terrorism. I might even risk if I were younger and childless. I should have been more explicit. Its a very unique segment of the world–part of the cradle of civilization.

      I am a huge believer in being able to take care of yourself. I couldn’t if I got into a situation. So that’s really why I wouldn’t want to go. My fighting and running days are over. That’s pretty much why I wont go out of the country. I would expect my own government to take care of me. Some other government? No expectations.

  3. Ed Myers

    … all those guns didn’t help defend during the various uprisings since bullets didn’t stop suicide bomber blasts. Israel instead had to resort to non-lethal defense mechanisms, namely a fence.

  4. Steve Thomas

    “Israel instead had to resort to non-lethal defense mechanisms, namely a fence.”

    Which couldn’t stop rocket attacks, so they had to also use guns, F-16’s, Drones, Targeted assassination, and they’re ground to air missile system, the Iron Dome.

    And a border cop still had to use deadly force, when attacked with a knife:

    A 14 yearold was stabbed with a vegetable peeler. You going to argue that a vegetable peeler is not potentially lethal? Perhaps they should have stricter controls. Of course, in your world, Ed, the assailant was only trying to help the victim eat more vegetables, rather than trying to turn the victim into a vegetable. The attacker was just confused.

    1. If I were Israel, I would use whatever I had in the arsenal to stop the attacks. I have a difficult time with the entire region. The Palestinians are always dragging out some poor child who has been blown to semi bits yet you never hear a word about the clowns up shooting rockets down at senior residences–many of whom are holocaust survivors.

      There seems to be some cognitive dissonance…some of them fail to make the cause/effect connection. Stop cutting Israelis with vegetable peelers. stop firing rockets. Your life will get better.

  5. Steve Thomas

    Moon-howler :
    If I were Israel, I would use whatever I had in the arsenal to stop the attacks. I have a difficult time with the entire region. The Palestinians are always dragging out some poor child who has been blown to semi bits yet you never hear a word about the clowns up shooting rockets down at senior residences–many of whom are holocaust survivors.
    There seems to be some cognitive dissonance…some of them fail to make the cause/effect connection. Stop cutting Israelis with vegetable peelers. stop firing rockets. Your life will get better.

    Their lives would have been better, had they not tried to overthrow the Jordanian government, lost the civil war, and gotten kicked out. Had they resorted to politics, appealed to the western democracies, and used their 2/3 population majority to live within a constitutional monarchy, they would have a stable, reasonably prosperous homeland: Jordan. They could have even changed the name to something more to their liking, as the name “Jordan” was less than 20 years old at the time. Instead, they went to war, and they lost, and were expelled to Lebanon, where they tried the same thing, and lost again.

    1. Continuing to make bad choices is not going to be a cure. If they continue Israeli strikes in whatever form, their lives will not be good, especially the lives of their children.

  6. Starryflights

    Great article. We should be more like Israel in terms of gun control.

  7. Steve Thomas

    Starryflights :
    Great article. We should be more like Israel in terms of gun control.

    Sure, and it would be easy for you to accomplish:

    -Elect a majority of “pro-gun control” senators, congressman, and a president
    -Elect pro-gun control majorities in 3/4 of the state legislatures
    -Pass a bill to repeal the 2nd amendment, and get the president to sign it
    -Get at least 3/4 of the state legislatures to ratify it
    -Repeal the current laws that prohibit a national firearms registry
    -Pass laws requiring all firearms to be registered
    -Issue weapons to all active-duty and reserve military
    -If some elites would still be permitted to keep private firearms, say for hunting or organized sporting, or perhaps for private security work, implement a national licensing scheme
    -Go door-to-door and collect the majority of the 300 million privately held firearms, since many would refuse to comply.

    Then we’d be like Israel, or the UK, or Australia, or North Korea…in terms of gun control.

  8. Kelly_3406

    It appears that the Israelis use strict gun laws to prevent Arabs living in their midst from getting weapons. Since there is “nearly” universal conscription of Israeli Jews into the IDF, most Jewish citizens can carry weapons if they so choose. Since few Arabs join the IDF, Arab residents have to go through a very arduous process to obtain gun permits.

    1. Israelis have to go through rigorous hoops also according to all the articles I read.

      The ultra religious people do not have to serve in the military. They also reproduce more than the regular Israelis. What started off as an elite small group has manifested itself into quite a few people who do not have to serve. I don’t think past service necessarily guarantees a permit for a weapon.

      I am getting my info from an Israeli.

  9. Kelly_3406

    If the ultra religious are not willing to serve in the military, they probably are not likely to shoot anyone in self defense either. Doesn’t every citizen that was conscripted remain in the Reserves until age 56? My understanding is that these Reservists do not get “private” permits, but rather are armed as part of their continued service.

    1. Not sure. I went to my source but didn’t ask about that.

  10. Scout

    RE Steve’s comment at #8: the Palestinian refugees in Jordan have always been there at sufferance and are not particularly welcome by the Hashemite founding/ruling class. They are an immense burden on the Kingdom. You’re quite right that the Palestinians really cooked any possibility that they could have insinuated themselves into a new home in Jordan when they ill-advisedly took on the government there. But this point masks the fundamental issue that more Palestinians than did should have stayed put in Israel and worked from within to retain their homeland. They made a major strategic blunder by not resisting their eviction more tenaciously. The thinking in 1948 seemed to be that Arab armies would protect them and restore their lands. It didn’t happen.

    Even the remnants of those who stayed (plus those ensconced in occupied Jerusalem and the West Bank) present a major problem for the Israeli government. They have a high birth rate, and they are increasingly sophisticated about their use of their political rights in a parliamentary government. Demographically, Israel cannot remain a theocratic state indefinitely without compromising substantially democratic government forms. There is a growing movement among Palestinians now (and it has some slivers of support among Israelis) to give up on the idea of a two-state solution and simply rely on numbers to eventually work changes in governance in all of Palestine (including the current Israeli state) to evolve a democratic secular state. Of course, we all know how resistant most Israelis would be to that, and how poorly democracy seems to fare in that region.

    Problems as far as the eye can see.

    1. The entire Israeli presence in former Palestine is not too clear cut, depending on who you ask.

      Scout is right, there absolutely are no easy answers. I get frustrated by the young people compounding the problems. I get frustrated by the settlers. Why are they there?

  11. Scout

    The settlers are tolerated, both actively and passively, by the Likud Government to make it difficult to unwind territorial gains from wars since 1948. Many of these settlers are religious fanatics who are completely invested in the idea of “Greater Israel,” a geographic concept that would extend Israeli borders dramatically. The current Israeli government plays a dangerous game of providing them with encouragement, using them selectively to punch the Palestinian Authority in the nose from time-to-time, but at the same time not wanting to lose a grip on their activities. Religious zealots in the Middle East are sort of like the Flying Karamazov’s torch-juggling act in a gasoline refinery. What possibly could go wrong? We’ve got it completely under control.

    1. I don’t believe the religious fanatics in the settlements all serve in the military either.

  12. Steve Thomas

    Not to derail the discussion, just an observation: in the books of Daniel, Ezekiel, Psalms, those of lesser prophets, certain passages of the Gospels, and Revelation, one versed in such subjects has much to point to in the the history of that region’s last 65 years as “having been written”. Now some could make a plausible argument of this being a case of the “tail wagging the dog” devoted believers of three major religion’s eschatology agree that Israel is the center of it all.

    1. Or could it be self-fulfilling prophecy? I guess none of us will know, but that doesn’t stop us from having an opinion. Think I will pass on the opinion part though….

      Things certainly don’t seem to be getting any better though.
      Elena posted a very good article today on, if you are friends with her on facebook.

  13. Scout

    Three of the world’s major religions emanated within a close radius of Jerusalem, as Steve notes. But the business of Bible verses describing or predicting present events strikes me as pure hokum and not a particularly deep dive reading of scripture. Those writings were very much of their time, the oldest going back as far as 800 BC. Not as old as Homer, but ancient nonetheless. I am amazed that we have such a large compendium of such ancient writings.

    The authors wrote of their times, not ours. In an anthology of ancient documents as large and old as the canonical Bible, one can find more fragments that appear evocative or reflective of modern times than one can find prophecies by playing the White Album backward, but the secular value of the writings is as a window on a period quite distant in history, in an area relatively alien to European sensibilities.

  14. Steve Thomas


    I swore off facebook 18 months ago. Never tweeted, intagramed, snap-chatted or other. All I have left is this blog, and a linkedin account.

    I was listening to a comedian commenting on the effects of social media on our culture. He said something I thought spot-on: Never in the history of man have lives so less-lived, been so well-documented.

    1. That quote should be its own topic for discussion. Yet I sit here always worrying that those who come after us will have no notion of what our lives were really like. Letter writing is a dead art. Children aren’t taught to write in cursive. Soon they won’t be taught to write at all. Our lives will all end up on a discarded hard drive somewhere.

      When was the last time you got a real, live personal letter, unrelated to business?

      But I digress. Actually it was a very good article–it was about Jews not writing that second paragraph, looking at the politics of what was going on today, trying to be even handed. He basically said that there was time for discussion when the murders stopped.

      Thank you for sticking with me here at Moonhowlings. I do appreciate it.

  15. Steve Thomas

    “But the business of Bible verses describing or predicting present events strikes me as pure hokum and not a particularly deep dive reading of scripture.”

    We can respectfully disagree on this point, as it is a matter of faith, and one of those things like “does Heaven Exist” that can’t really be determined until it actually happens (or doesn’t). I’ll leave it at this area seems to be prized by a whole bunch of people, and has been fought over since ancient times. I don’t see a political answer, and Clausewitz’s “war is the continuation of politics by other means” hasn’t seemed to settle it either. Conflict here predates the 3 faiths, historically, as we know this area was one of the first to be “civilized”. My faith teaches me that things will get much worse there, and events seem to only support this. Regardless, this is a big mess.

  16. Scout

    I’m not sure we disagree. If you’re saying that this region has historically (even pre-Biblical times) been an area of strife, I’m with you. My quibble was that I don’t read Scripture as futurist literature or a guide or predictor of modern current events.

  17. Steve Thomas

    Scout :
    I’m not sure we disagree. If you’re saying that this region has historically (even pre-Biblical times) been an area of strife, I’m with you. My quibble was that I don’t read Scripture as futurist literature or a guide or predictor of modern current events.

    And I do read it as such. That is where I will respectfully disagree with your characterization, and your opinion.

  18. Scout

    Could you give me an example of a Biblical prediction of a current event, Steve? Why do you think the Bible is intended to be a predictor?

  19. Steve Thomas


    I could, but choose not to on this forum.

  20. Scout

    Obviously, it’s your choice, but it isn’t obvious to me why “this forum” would be a place to be avoided in discussing an issue that was generally raised on up the thread. It seems like we often have fairly informative discussions here.

    Your comment does stimulate me to inquire what forum (or fora) would be appropriate for such a discussion, in your view.

    Just to try to keep the plates spinning on the sticks, I’ll offer up that I am unaware of anything Biblical that suggests that the content of the Bible is intended by its authors to be Nostradamus-type predictions of events in 2015 (give or take a few decades or centuries) of the Common Era. The one NT book that might be interpreted as futuristic (Revelations) describes a vision. However, that vision seems largely theological (eschatological, to be precise) and freighted heavily with symbolism. I would be very concerned if anyone in the American secular political world announced that he/she would make policy choices based on that particular book. That would seem even more disqualifying for a position of civic responsibility than opining that the world is no older than about six millennia, as calculated by Bishop Usher. The rest of the NT addresses something quite different – the Kingdom of God, a concept expressly said by One who should know to be “not of this world.”

    I know of no passage (and, believe me, I have spent a great deal of time studying the Bible) that claims to predict current events in our age.

  21. Ed Myers

    My understanding of Biblical Prophecy is that a prophecy that was proven true in the timeframe of the prophet can be recycled again and again in the future like a thread woven through time. Therefore prophecies in Daniel regarding the Persian empires and Revelations regarding the Roman empire have meaning and predictive power in explaining how God might act again in future scenarios of diaspora for Jewish and Christian communities.

    Suppose I ask 65,000 people in a stadium to predict a coin toss. The half that are wrong are asked to leave and the remainder get to play again. After 16 iterations there will remain a few people who have correctly predicted the coin toss correctly 16 times in a row. Those lucky people or their friends might think they are gifted or blessed or have been chosen by God for something special. Others would see it as simple binary sorting.

    Such is prophecy. We can always find someone, after the fact, who was lucky enough to correctly predicted a stock market crash but finding someone who is wealthy because they sold everything short on the 4th blood moon of the shemeda year or Y2K is impossible because that kind of prophecy has always turned out to be false.

    1. Ed, I am fairly skeptical myself about prophesy. I tend to concentrate on just using the word correctly… which isn’t easy to do. (the verb form)

      I don’t dismiss it but I don’t put much stock in it. Then again, is it possible for some people to have pre-cognition? I believe Duke University would say yes. Just keeping an open mind here. I also am keeping one about UFO’s.

      After all, didn’t the scientists just discover water on Mars? Good starting place….

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