Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Opponents of relaxed gun-licensing fear an increase in domestic violence incidents, random homicides, and vigilantism. Adding to the debate (albeit, in the opinion of many, not relevant to the debate) was the comment by the Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff, while discussing the army’s rules of engagement, that he “would not want to see a soldier empty a magazine [to shoot] a young girl with scissors.” Although the comment was seen by some as a criticism of using deadly physical force to combat terrorists, the army, officials, and even Prime Minister Netanyahu saw the comment as a reaffirmation of Israel’s moral commitment to combat terrorism using the minimum required power while still asserting that the use of whatever power is required to meet any given threat, remains imperative and appropriate. Meanwhile, in the interim, the IDF, following the murder of an IDF sergeant killed fighting off terrorists bare-handed, has ordered soldiers to bring their weapons home with them.

Advocates of more armed civilians insist that those so empowered would coordinate, as in Judea and Samaria, with governmental security services and would eventually be augmented by mobile apps to alert authorities. Nor does anyone suggest this added line of self-defense would result in “shoot first, and ask questions later” scenarios because the current situation of knives being plunged into innocent, randomly targeted individuals unambiguously and unquestionably justifies and demands immediate action with no questions needed at all.


Beyond responding directly to, and in fact removing, specific “lone wolves,” increasing the number of on-any-site-and-every-site armed civilians would result in a communal feeling of security. More so than even the actual physical result, crucial as that is, there would be the ensuing confidence of a community in control of its environs and protective of, as well as by, its own residents. It is an initiative that not only fights terrorists, but terrorism itself.

The people of Israel have always placed their faith in their G-d, their government, and themselves. Thrust upon them now by an ever-resourceful and demented enemy is the need to continue that faith as before, but to augment it by reliance on not just isolated heroes, but on a nation of civilian heroes ready, willing, and most importantly, able to protect themselves and each other.


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Martin Oliner is co-president of the Religious Zionists of America, chairman of the Center for Righteousness and Integrity, and a committee member of the Jewish Agency. He was appointed by former President Donald Trump as a member of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council. The views expressed here are his own. He can be reached at [email protected].