Photo Credit: Avshalom Sassoni / Flash 90
Members of ZAKA remove a body at the scene at the scene of terrorist shooting attack in Bnei Brak, March 29, 2022.

Given the current uptick in terrorist attacks, Israeli police are mulling the possibility of arming synagogue sextons (gabbaim) in Bnei Brak as part of a pilot program that would later expand to other haredi religious cities, according to a report Sunday in the haredi religious B’Chadarei Haredim news outlet.

The issue has been discussed in recent months as well as at a recent meeting between the heads of the district police and municipal police and the members of the Hasidic Representatives Forum in Bnei Brak.


But in the wake of this weekend’s deadly terror attack outside a synagogue in Jerusalem and the rise in security tensions nationwide, the police are now considering speeding up the plan to arm the gabaim.

Police raised the terror alert to its highest level nationwide following that attack and several others that followed within hours.

The police have deployed extra forces in haredi religious cities and communities as part of the increased alert.

It is believed that terrorists may also see large Orthodox Jewish populations as easy targets due to a lower number of people carrying weapons and the fact that most religious Jews do not carry phones on the Sabbath or holidays, thus causing delays in calling for help.

Police were quoted by the news outlet as saying the plan to arm the gabaim would begin as a pilot project in Bnei Brak and then expand to other similar cities.

Due to the bureaucracy involved in issuing a gun license, police in Gush Dan are mulling ways to speed up the process, including the possibility of gabaim participating as volunteer police officers on the Sabbath and holidays – during which they will be armed to protect worshipers during their prayers.

“The matter is expected to reach the city’s rabbis in the coming days,” the news outlet reported.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.