Israeli Citizens Arming Themselves in Response to Wave of Terror Attacks
Gov't easing some restrictions on Israelis carrying firearms.
Israeli citizens are increasingly taking their safety into their own hands after a string of stabbings in Jerusalem this week by Palestinians.
In one attack, a Palestinian man drove his car through a crowded bus stop, then attacked the injured with a meat cleaver. In another attack, two men boarded a bus and began shooting and stabbing passengers.
In fresh attacks Friday, a Palestinian disguised as a photojournalist stabbed an Israeli soldier, the same day Palestinians torched a site honored by the Jewish community as the tomb of the biblical figure Joseph.
Katie Pavlich explained on "The Real Story" that the government is easing some gun restrictions due to the heightened fears about these attacks.
"It goes to show that the government is embracing this idea that they've seen civilians stop these attacks with firearms and they want the civilians to join with the police force stop these attacks," said Pavlich.
AFP reported on the scene this week at a Tel Aviv gun store:
"The last time the shop was so busy was probably in the 1970s. I've never before seen such stress or panic," says owner Iftash Ben-Yehuda.
He is now having to ration some of his wares, estimating demand to be about four times higher than normal.
"There's been a shortage of tear gas grenades in the country for a few days, so I limit them to two per customer and give priority to women," the 37-year-old tells AFP.
Smith & Wesson, Glock and Israeli-made Jericho models top the handgun sales league, costing anything between 2,000 and 4,000 shekels ($500-$1,000, 450-900 euros), he says.
He has decided not to charge for weapons training "to participate in the public security effort", Ben-Yehuda says.
In response to the spate of attacks, the government is allowing security guards to carry their firearms with them outside the workplace. Civilians with gun licenses have been urged to carry a weapon visibly.
Aside from police and security forces, civilians can only own a gun in Israel if they live in an area deemed high-risk by the government.
Pavlich said there have been warnings in the U.S. about lone wolf attackers, but the government has not encouraged Americans to arm themselves in response.
"It's interesting to see how it's actually playing out in real-time, on the ground in Israel," she said.
Earlier this month, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat urged all citizens with gun licenses to carry a weapon with them.
Barkat pointed out that in many cases, Palestinian attackers have been neutralized by an Israeli citizen with a gun, not a police officer.