Police Looking Into Easing Gun Control in Light of Terror Attacks

After deadly attack on Jerusalem synagogue, Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino says Israel Police would further increase its forces in Jerusalem if necessary.

Olivier Fitoussi

Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch said Tuesday that officials in his ministry were weighing whether to ease conditions for allowing civilians to legally carry a weapon.

Aharanovitch made his remarks following the attack on a Jerusalem synagogue which left four worshipers killed, and dozens wounded.

The ministry’s Firearms Licensing Division has a series of criteria for determining who can get a gun license, relating to the applicant’s place of residence, occupation and his military history, among other things.

One step the ministry is considering would be lowering the rank at which a discharged officer can get a gun permit, from lieutenant-colonel to major, a ministry employee said. The employee stressed that this and other steps being considered might later be rescinded if the situation calms down.

Jerusalem was tense Tuesday night, as some 300 people joined a protest of far-right groups Lehava and Otzma Leyisrael near the entrance to Jerusalem, chanting "death to Arabs." Some 23 Jewish protesters were arrested when they blocked the Jerusalem Light Rail line, and a 20-year-old was lightly wounded in the Old City after he was attacked by Palestinians.

In East Jerusalem, dozens of Palestinian protesters threw stones and shot firecrackers at police in Jabal Mukaber, the neighborhood that the perpetrators of the Har Nof synagogue attack came from.

After Tuesday’s attack, numerous parents contacted the Jerusalem municipality and demanded that security at kindergartens and schools in the city be boosted. City regulations call for an armed guard only at kindergartens with at least 100 children.

The city’s Parents Association is demanding that guards be placed at all schools and kindergartens, regardless of the number of pupils. Security patrols were increased in the areas around schools, particularly in the neighborhoods bordering East Jerusalem.

The municipality and police Tuesday agreed to start boosting security in public places and to launch a broad recruitment campaign for Civil Guard volunteers. Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino said Tuesday that if necessary, the Israel Police would further increase its forces in Jerusalem, even though reinforcements have been deployed in the capital for a month.