Al Jazeera Net correspondents
Occupied Jerusalem- The battle of the “Al-Aqsa Flood” caused extreme terror and fear among large segments of Israelis, and not only among those who live near the border or in settlements in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem.
In light of the lack of security and safety, the Israeli security forces encouraged the establishment of 600 civil guard teams in Jewish towns far from the areas of hostilities, which motivated the Israelis to arm themselves and apply for a license to carry weapons.
In order to increase the number of licensed militants and speed up the process of arming them, the Ministry of Security hastened to abolish the restrictive conditions, expand the minimum conditions for issuing a license to carry weapons, grant facilities for issuing them, and shorten the period for examining applications.
The Parliamentary Security Committee had approved – in the first week of the war on Gaza – the regulations that expand the conditions and criteria for obtaining a license to carry weapons, as well as the population eligible for licenses, which were prepared by Defense Minister Itamar Ben Gvir.
According to estimates heard by the Security Committee, the new regulations mean that around 400,000 additional Israelis will be able to apply for a weapons licence.
New facilities and rules
Under the amended facilities and regulations, any Israeli who served in the army and is over 21 years old, has completed full military service, and is entitled to obtain a “combat” certificate will be able to apply for a license to carry a special firearm for a period of up to 20 years, after the end of his regular service or Backup.
The facilities include all settlers who live in the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967, so that every settler, even if he did not serve in the army, can apply for a license to carry a weapon. The facilities also include new immigrants, as they will be directly armed, as well as “Magen David Adom” volunteer ambulance teams. And fire and rescue teams.
The new regulations also give every Jewish girl who has performed “national service” for a year the opportunity to apply for a license to carry weapons, and all Jewish families who live in kibbutzim “agricultural and military settlements” within the Green Line and in the border areas, as well as all police personnel who have been referred for retirement.
Since the start of hostilities on the southern front until the beginning of the fourth week of the war on Gaza, 174 thousand and 453 An application to obtain a license to carry weapons, according to what was reported by the website of the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper on Tuesday, October 31.
In light of this demand for license applications, the Ministry of Defense opened its centers throughout Israel under the state of emergency, and its data showed that the centers receive an average of 10,000 new applications daily, while about 850 applications were received weekly before the outbreak of war.
In the first week following the start of the “Al-Aqsa Flood” battle on October 7, more than 40,928 applications were submitted to obtain a weapon license, and about 13,748 conditional approvals and 8,807 new licenses were granted. Note that out of the total number of new applications submitted to the Ministry, there were more than 13,269 incorrect applications, while approximately 5,104 applications were rejected.
Official statistics from the Israeli Ministry of Interior indicated that before the events of October 7, there were more than 200,000 Israeli civilians in possession of weapons under licenses from the Ministry, in addition to the weapons licenses granted to civil guard companies that have tens of thousands of licenses to carry weapons.
According to the Haaretz newspaper, the increase in the number of applications for weapons licenses began after the “Gift of Dignity” in May 2021, when more than 19,000 applications were submitted, i.e. double the number during the previous two years, and in 2022 the number of applications doubled to 42,000. While the year 2023 is expected to witness the number of applications reaching more than 400,000.
To compare everything related to issuing licenses to carry weapons in October during the war on Gaza, the newspaper states that from the beginning of 2023 until the sudden attack by Hamas on the “Gaza envelope” settlements and the south, the Ministry of Security issued 25,859 licenses to carry private firearms for civilians. Compared to 12,897 licenses in 2022, and 100,64 licenses in 2021.
Implications of arms proliferation
As for the agricultural settlements, kibbutzim, and border towns, 600 civilian guard teams were established, with each squad including up to 20 volunteers. The Ministry of Security purchased 7,000 Sa’ar long rifles and thousands of equipment and bullet-proof mechanisms from the Military Industries Company. Israeli forces provided it to all guard teams.
The Marker newspaper also reported that Israel is arming its citizens in an unprecedented way, as tens of thousands of applications for gun licenses have been approved, especially for civilians, and the establishment of hundreds of guard teams, as 20,000 weapons and rifles have been sold in Israel since the first week of the events of October 7. /October.
The same newspaper warned of the repercussions of arming Israelis on this scale, pointing out the possibility of internal effects on Israeli society, and that the spread of arming may stimulate violence and crime among the Israelis themselves, and pointed out that from the beginning of 2023 until October 7, about 26,000 licenses were issued. To carry weapons, this number may double by the end of this year.