Report: Gun requests in Israel surged after May violence

i24NEWS

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Israeli security forces clash with protesters in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah on May 15, 2021.
Jamal Awad/Flash90Israeli security forces clash with protesters in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah on May 15, 2021.

19,374 requests for personal firearms were made in 2021, more than double the number in 2020

Requests for personal gun licenses in Israel spiked following an outbreak of Jewish-Arab violence in May 2021, according to data released Tuesday by the Firearms Licensing Division of the Public Security Ministry.

According to the department, 19,375 applications were sent throughout 2021 for a license to obtain a personal firearm, more than double the number of requests made the previous year.

The ministry said 15,849 of the inquiries this year were made following the violence in May, The Times of Israel (ToI) reported.

Widespread rioting erupted in mixed Jewish-Arab cities after fighting between Israeli forces and Hamas, the de facto governing authority in the Gaza Strip.

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In June alone, 6,092 requests were made.

The spike in applications “stems from a crack in civilians’ sense of security,” Public Security Minister Omer Barlev said.

He added that his ministry would work to bolster personal security so people would not feel the need to be armed, ToI reported.

Israel’s gun control policy is relatively strict, as firearms are generally only granted to those who show a need for extra security in their line of work or daily life.

The Abraham Initiatives NGO - which monitors and campaigns against violence in the Arab community - voiced concern over the figures.

“A scenario of the mass arming of civilians will lead to a dangerous situation that will be dozens of times greater than what we saw in May,” the group said, ToI reported.

“The police must… give a sense of security to all citizens - Jews and Arabs alike - alongside refining and reducing the eligibility of the public for firearms.”