After Mass Shooting, Israel Moves To Expand Civilian Access To Guns

(Photo by Amir Levy/Getty Images)

Dylan Housman Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent
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Israel’s Security Cabinet announced over the weekend it will move to expedite the process for firearms licensing in the aftermath of a Friday mass shooting that left seven people dead.

A Facebook page for the Prime Minister of Israel announced that “thousands of additional citizens” will be able to carry weapons once the new policies are implemented.

“When civilians have guns, they can defend themselves,” National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir said over the weekend. The full cabinet must approve the new measures before they are implemented.

Israel does not have an equivalent of the Second Amendment that guarantees a right to bear arms, but Israeli citizens who have been residents for at least three years, have basic knowledge of Hebrew and work in certain professions can apply to own a gun, according to the Jerusalem Post.

Individuals who work in dangerous jobs or live or work in certain dangerous areas are also eligible to apply. There are age restrictions based on whether an Israeli has completed military service, ranging from 18 at the earliest to a peak of 45 for permanent residents who have not served.

Applications for gun licenses have increased after recent terror attacks throughout Israel, according to the Post. Ben-Gvir welcomed that development in remarks given Saturday night. (RELATED: Israel Reportedly Behind Drone Strike On Iranian Munitions Factory)

“I want more weapons on the streets so that the citizens of Israel can defend themselves. We saw it in today’s event in the City of David that when citizens have weapons they can protect themselves,” he said. “I will raise it in the cabinet, to bring more people to the firearms licensing division and allow us to give the citizens who want and qualify for weapons, and I want also to ease the criteria. Seventeen thousand citizens are waiting for gun licenses.”

Friday’s shooting that left seven dead and wounded three others took place outside a synagogue in East Jerusalem. Tensions between Israeli security forces and Palestinians had escalated in prior weeks. Jihadists fired rockets from Gaza into Israel Thursday after an Israeli raid on a refugee camp killed nine people earlier in the week. The Security Cabinet is proposing revoking social security benefits from the attacker’s family.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Israel Monday and met with numerous top officials, including new Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.