As you might expect, firearms are deeply woven into the fabric of Israel’s society. Given the fact that the country is still technically at war with a few of its neighbors and various terrorist organizations would like nothing better than to return to the good old days of the second intifada by turning suicide bombers loose within the country again, the need for individuals to defend themselves and their families shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. In fact, strict gun control and civilian disarmament would seem to be tantamount to suicide. “There’s no anti-gun lobby. It doesn’t exist here due to the very extensive and deep running militarisation of this society,” Rela Mazali disappointingly admits. But along with New Profile, an organization she helped found, Mazali advocates for disarming Israeli civilians and hired security companies. The only problem is . . .
She’s got a steep uphill climb ahead of her in convincing everyday Israelis that fewer armed civilians and security guards will be a good thing in their little patch of the Middle East.
…the Jewish majority basically see guns as very benign, and only there for their protection. Which in fact not only obliterates the problematic of small arms proliferation and its dangers but also obliterates what security means for different genders, and for different groups and different parts of society.
Do we have any volunteers out there willing to take a crack at parsing that?
Because guns at home are not by any means there for women’s protection. They endanger women disproportionately.
Sounds like she’s a regular New York Times reader. As in, World Ends Tomorrow, Women and Minorities Hit Hardest. That’s right, Mazali seems likes to use the language of critical theory to make her case with Israelis that somehow guns are oppressing women. Or something. While she may not be doing much to convince Israelis to give up their guns, she’s probably well on her way to nailing down a tenured spot in the Women’s Studies faculty at the higher education institution of her choosing.
But for a dedicated unilateral disarmer, it’s kind of a bummer when your target audience sees guns not a threat, but as a benign tool that helps to ensure their security. Somehow, she’s going to have to figure out how to change those hearts and minds. Maybe a call to the Attorney General will be helpful.
Guns are gendered. They have different meanings and different implications for the different genders. And this needs to be taken account of in any society that is even purporting to provide security for its citizens.
I’ve been trying to figure out what gender my gun is ever since I read that. I even peeked under the slide. Still can’t tell, though. It might be oppressing me and I don’t even know it.
But give Rela some credit. Her sophisticated arguments seem to be making some headway with Amit Yaakov, head of Israel’s Firearms Licensing Department who avers that the current firearms laws may need to be updated for the new realities of modern life.
“We’re also checking to see if all places that are guarded now need to be. In the past because of the intifada and other issues yes, they did, but perhaps now many don’t.”
Would-be suicide bombers will surely be overjoyed to hear the news. Evidently half a decade of success in protecting themselves from terrorists means they’re no longer out there. Perhaps Mr. Yaakov would like to take his family out for some pizza at the first restaurant he decides won’t need protection any longer.
It seems unlikely that Ms. Mazali and her intrepid friends will have much luck convincing Israelis to give up their guns any time soon. Living with a virtual gun to your head tends to focus the mind on the threat at hand. The threats to the country’s existence are persistent and very real. And all the pseudo intellectual arguments to the contrary, Israelis aren’t likely to forget that any time soon.