After the atrocities perpetrated in Israel this last week, questions arise about how such an intelligence failure could have occurred, how the Israeli military, which is assumed by many to be ubiquitous, did not do a better job at more quickly and effectively repelling the invasion, and perhaps most perplexing of all, why families and towns in close proximity to a territory run by terrorists did not seem to have the means for self-defense.
Thomas Jefferson made the point over 200 years ago that it is the right and duty of citizens to be at all times armed. How much more so for a people not protected by an Atlantic ocean but within view of terrorists who want them dead?
Are the people of Israel subjects and not citizens?
Imagine the difference it would have made in the 1930s and ‘40s in Nazi Germany and elsewhere in Europe (or anywhere else, genocide was perpetrated, for that matter) if Jewish individuals and families were able and willing to fight back. Although one could argue that the Jewish mindset in Germany at that time was one of complacency or resignation, as the prior 1800-plus years of the diaspora was a repressive history of exile, abuse, murder, and massacre. Ever since the Romans’ final suppression of Israelite resistance in the 130s, the Jews were largely a defenseless people subject to the whims or depredations of their “host” countries.
Not anymore. Or do we have to say never again – again?
Because of images of Israeli defense forces carrying their weaponry on the streets, much of the world likely believes gun ownership is common or even proliferates in Israel. But such is not the case. With the exception of active military, police, and personnel in security services, only single-digit percentages out of a private citizen Jewish population of over seven million are licensed to have a firearm. That fact is an unforgivable oversight and should never have been the case. In a country where virtually all young adults go through compulsory conscription, almost all families have members trained to use firearms. So why isn’t there a means of self-defense in every household?
You could make the case that the level of barbarity in Nazi Germany was unprecedented and unforeseeable. Not so with the present situation in modern Israel. For years, terrorists had been crossing the border from the West Bank and perpetrating bus bombings and other atrocities. But since the construction of the West Bank border barrier, those events have ended mainly. But the terrorists running Gaza are no less barbaric. Why was the enclosure there so much less secure and easy to break through? Communities in south Israel fell victim to thugs who breached insufficient and poorly monitored fencing.
It might come as a surprise to most Americans, but gun laws in Israel are quite restrictive. Until just last week, the annual allotment for licensed gun owners was only fifty rounds of ammunition! And that’s after a loosening of the gun laws around five years ago. This was raised to a hundred in the aftermath of the weekend carnage – still ridiculously low in a country perpetually under potential siege. And a valid reason for possessing a firearm (such as self-defense!) was required for a permit. You’d think the whole country would qualify. Applicants were also restricted to a single gun.
And despite the firearm capability of most Israelis, more than one in three permit applications were rejected. So, who are the ones most likely to have guns? Criminals and terrorists.
In the last couple of days, constraints were further loosened. However, the Israeli government must do more to ramp up the multiple layers of self-defense that the country needs.
RKBA proponents In the US are probably shocked by this information. At the least, every town in proximity to the Gaza border should have had the means to protect themselves. The difference could have been monumental. Families that were wiped out might have survived. Babies who were murdered – beheaded! If you can imagine that level of savagery – they might have lived out their lives. And an unknown number of terrorist monsters would not have lived to murder another day.
If never again is to be a truthful slogan, the Israeli government must trust its citizens, especially those who have been through military service. And until the day comes that the residents of that beleaguered country are safe in their beds – and cribs – citizen gun ownership should not just be allowed by the Israeli government but vigorously encouraged.
Update: During the initial minutes of the attack, a lone 25-year-old Israeli woman, Inbal Lieberman, retrieved the necessary weaponry and likely saved her entire southern Israel kibbutz from devastation. She distributed stored guns and, along with fellow residents, shot and killed at least 25 terrorists before they could penetrate the kibbutz’s perimeter fencing.